We look ahead to Boxing Day to bring you a full and in-depth preview of our Sky Bet League Two visit to Mansfield Town.
Mansfield Town v Hartlepool United
Friday 26th December 2014
Mansfield Town currently lie in 16th spot in the League Two table having been inconsistent for much of a topsy-turvy season so far.
Their start to the season was up and down with five wins and six losses from their opening eleven games in all competitions.
However, a run of nine games without a victory – culminating in a draw against non-league Concord Rangers in the FA Cup – cost Paul Cox his job and he left the hotseat in November.
At the start of this month, The Stags made Adam Murray the youngest boss in English football when he was appointed Cox’s successor as Player Boss at the age of just 33.
Since then the midfielder has guided Town to four points from six in the league with an impressive ten-man victory at AFC Wimbledon last time out bolstering confidence in the squad.
Tuesday 25th March 2014
Hartlepool United 2 (Harewood 28, James 53)
Mansfield Town 4 (Jennings 20, 72, Rhead 80, McGuire 90)
Hartlepool United: Flinders, Richards, Collins, Burgess, Holden (Jones 65), Duckworth, Walker, Barmby, Compton (Poole 62), Harewood (Sweeney 63), James.
Subs not used: Rafferty, Rowbotham, Franks, Hawkins.
Mansfield Town: Marriott, Sutton, Dempster (Meikle 58), Riley, Jennings, Beevers, Howell (Clucas 58), Murray, McGuire, Rhead, Palmer (Speight 82).
Subs not used: Westlake, Stevenson, Clements, Daniel.
Head To Head
Friday’s game will be the 84th competitive meeting between the two sides and, historically, Mansfield have had the better of it having won 40 of the contests to Pools’ 28.
In recent times Pools have the edge though; even though The Stags won the last meeting in March, Pools had won each of the three previous encounters between the sides.
Michael Duckworth could return after groin trouble, Jack Compton is hoping to shake off illness in time to feature but Tommy Miller could miss out with a calf strain.
Click here now for more team news from both camps ahead of the game.
By our counting, Friday’s game will be the 26th time that referee Scott Mathieson has officiated the Club – a run stretching back to a 1-1 draw with Lincoln City in December 1997.
In his previous 25 occasions in the middle he’s seen us win 13 times – including the 8-1 win over Grimsby Town in September 2003, the 5-2 win at Port Vale in January 2004 and the 5-3 triumph over Huddersfield Town in October 2008.
So far this term, the experienced official has taken charge of 14 games and during that time has dished out 14 yellow cards and five red.
This game is an all-ticket fixture and tickets remained on sale until 2pm on Tuesday but are now no longer available.
Pools fans are advised not to travel without a ticket as they will not be available at The One Call Stadium on the day of the game.
There’ll be full live online commentary on Saturday’s game on Pools Player from 2.50pm so if you can’t get there then let us bring the action to you.
Click here now for more information on how you can sign-up for a FREE 12-day trial on Pools Player and enjoy all our live commentary this Christmas.
Pools are out at 5/2 for three points on Boxing Day, with Mansfield installed as 11/10 favourites and the draw available at odds of 23/10 right now with Sky Bet.
Remember, every bet placed with Sky Bet via the links on our website can directly help Pools so if you’re having a flutter this Christmas make sure you do it with us! Click here for info.