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Posted Thu 04 Feb 16

Preview: Notts County v Hartlepool United

Notts County v Hartlepool United
Sky Bet League Two
Saturday 6th February 2016
Kick-off: 3pm

The Story So Far
Notts County were one of the biggest players in League Two when it came to summer transfers, with then boss Ricardo Moniz allowed to totally overhaul his squad following last term’s relegation.

However, the promise of pre-season soon turned to concern on the terraces at Meadow Lane and that moved in to the Boardroom in January when Moniz left the club after just one win in five over Christmas.

Former Crystal Palace star Jamie Fullarton was perhaps a surprise choice as Moniz’s replacement but the 41-year-old has managed to bring some solidity to a previously leaky County rear-guard, keeping two clean sheets in the past three games.

Consecutive away wins at Crawley and Luton came either side of a disappointing home defeat to AFC Wimbledon and Fullarton’s next task will be to address their recent form at Meadow Lane where they haven’t won in three.

Despite their inconsistent performances, County remain only eight points adrift of the top seven and Fullarton will know that if he can get the team on a roll they could yet have a say in the play-offs this term.

One To Watch
It was something of a coup when Notts County landed former Premier League striker Jon Stead during the summer following his release from Bradford City.

The powerful front man has proved a handful for League Two defences so far this term having helped himself to nine goals in all competitions, including the second in their 2-0 win at Luton Town last time out.

The 32-year-old has a wealth of experience having played for a host of clubs during a lengthy career which began at Huddersfield Town and has taken him to Blackburn, Sunderland and Derby among others.

Last Meeting
Saturday 9th November 2013
Hartlepool United 3 (Baldwin 16, James 42, 75)
Notts County 2 (Walton og 18, Murray 84)

Hartlepool United: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Baldwin, Austin, Franks (Richards 85), Walton, Dolan, Monkhouse (Sweeney 85), Poole, James.
Subs not used: Rafferty, Holden, Walker, Compton, Rodney.

Notts County: Bialkowski, Sheehan, Leacock, Liddle, Labadie (Showunmi 60), Arquin, Grealish (Boucaud 60), McGregor, Thompson (Murray 76), Fotheringham, Campbell-Ryce.
Subs not used: Speiss, Tempest, Haworth, Smith.

Head To Head
Saturday’s game will be the 29th competitive meeting between the two sides and Pools have the edge historically having won twelve times to County’s eleven.

Pools have won three of the last four encounters, though it is a fixture which has gone with home advantage on the last five consecutive occasions.

Indeed, Pools have lost on their last three visits to Meadow Lane and you have to go back to December 2006 for our last win there when Andy Monkhouse’s first goal for the Club was enough to settle the contest.

Team News
Ronnie Moore has a doubt over Matthew Bates, but new signings Luke James and Josh Laurent are in contention while Billy Paynter and Carl Magnay are pressing for starting spots.


Referee
Darren England will take charge of only his second-ever Pools game this weekend when he’s the man in the middle for trip to Notts County.

The official was on the whistle for our opening game of the current campaign when we defeated Morecambe 2-0 at The Vic after spending the majority of last season working in the Conference.

He’s dished out five red cards and 76 yellows during his 20 outings this term, his last coming when he was the referee for Yeovil Town’s 3-2 win at AFC Wimbledon last weekend.

Ticket Information
Fans can buy their tickets in advance from the Victoria Park Ticket Office until around 3pm on Friday after which they will also be available on the turnstiles at Meadow Lane prior to kick-off.


Live Commentary
Pools fans all over the world will be able to listen to full online commentary of Saturday’s game by logging-on to Pools PlayerHD from 2.50pm.


Betting
Pools are rated a 7/2 shot for all three points on Saturday, while hosts County are 4/5 favourites and the bookies are offering a price of 13/5 on the game ending all-square at Meadow Lane.