We turn our attentions to Boxing Day with a full and in-depth preview of the Sky Bet League Two encounter with Notts County at Victoria Park.
Hartlepool United v Notts County
Sky Bet League Two
Saturday 26th December 2015
The Story So Far
Ricardo Moniz arrived at the Club in April in what County described as a change of direction but he was unable to prevent them from sliding to a dramatic relegation on the final day of the season.
He was given licence to revamp his squad during the summer in a bid to challenge for promotion back to League One at the first attempt and no fewer than nineteen new players arrived at Meadow Lane.
Few teams have been as free-scoring as The Magpies on home soil this season but they have struggled on their travels and have only one away league win to their name this term.
That inconsistency means they arrive at The Vic sitting just below mid-table but they’re only seven points outside the play-offs and will fancy a drive towards the top seven in the second half of the campaign.
One To Watch
It was a bit of a transfer coup for Notts County when they landed former Premier League striker Jon Stead following his release from Bradford City.
The powerful front man has proved a handful for League Two defences this term having helped himself to seven goals in all competitions in his 25 appearances so far.
Stead has hit good form moving in to the festive period too; he’s scored three goals in his last five outings so Pools will need to be on their guard against him this weekend.
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, The Magpies have only won once at The Vic in their fifteen previous visits – and that was their first back in September 1959.
Ronnie Moore is waiting on the fitness of Carl Magnay (groin) but Michael Duckworth (stomach), Billy Paynter (Achilles) and Harry Worley (ankle) are all definitely ruled out.
David Webb will take charge of only his second Pools’ game this weekend when he is on the whistle for our encounter with Notts County.
The only previous occasion he’s officiated us was for a 0-0 draw against Yeovil Town at The Vic back in March 2013.
His latest outing came at The Ricoh Arena on Saturday when he was in charge for Coventry City’s 1-1 draw against Oldham Athletic in League One.
Tickets are available in advance from the Victoria Park Ticket Office but they will also be on sale on the turnstiles prior to kick-off on Boxing Day.
Click here now for everything you need to know about buying tickets for games at The Vic.
Fans all over the world will be able to enjoy full live online commentary of Saturday’s game in the company of Brian Honour and Mark Simpson by logging-on to Pools PlayerHD from 2.50pm.
Click here now for more info on listening to every game live on Pools PlayerHD.
Pools are rated a 5/2 shot for all three points on Boxing Day, while County have been installed as 13/10 favourites and the draw is priced at 23/10.