We cast our eye over some of the crucial dates during the 2016/17 campaign and ask where it’s most important that Craig Hignett’s men pick up some points.
Saturday 6th August 2016, 3pm
Pools v Colchester United
It’s always important, if not crucial, to get off to a good start when the big kick-off comes around.
While it may not prove the be-all and end-all if a team doesn’t get the right result on the opening day, a win could go a long way to boosting confidence for the long campaign ahead.
Colchester United will be arriving at The Vic keen to try and wipe away the memories of their relegation last season and they will have aspirations of a quick return to League One.
Therefore, this fixture is going to be a good one for both clubs to measure their progress during the summer and try to figure out whether their pre-season workouts have been a success.
Saturday 24th September 2016, 3pm
Plymouth Argyle v Pools
At the end of last season, Craig Hignett’s men were thrashed 5-0 by Plymouth Argyle at Home Park – a result that the Pools boss described as “embarrassing.”
Now Pools get the opportunity to put that right when they return to the scene of the crime relatively early in the campaign – and at the end of a hectic month which will also see the team on the road to Stevenage and Yeovil Town.
Hignett will be looking at that game as a good indication of his side’s progress, especially with The Pilgrims no doubt expected to be among the front-runners again this term after being beaten in the Play-Off Final in May.
Tuesday 14th February 2017, 7.45pm
Luton Town v Pools
Last term Pools were asked to visit Bristol Rovers and Newport County on Tuesday night and, while midweek trips to Luton Town and Cambridge United aren’t as arduous this term, they’ll still prove significant.
This Valentine’s night trip to Kenilworth Road will be far from romantic but if Hignett’s men can break Hatters’ hearts then it would set them up perfectly for the rest of February.
The game comes hot on the heels of a weekend journey to Mansfield Town – and is followed up with a home game against Plymouth Argyle. Emerge with a good return from that run of fixtures and Pools’ confidence will rise quickly.
Saturday 15th April 2017, 3pm
Pools v Carlisle United
Games between these two rivals always have some extra spice and this season’s encounters are unlikely to be any different.
An Easter game against The Cumbrians at The Vic may swell the attendance even more than usual and it could be a cracking atmosphere when Keith Curle’s men head to the North East.
Carlisle flirted with the play-offs last term and Craig Hignett will be keen for Pools to be up there fighting this time around so this could be a key fixture for both sides with four games left to play afterwards.
Saturday 6th May 2017, 3pm
Pools v Doncaster Rovers
Following their relegation from League One, Doncaster Rovers have invested heavily in the hope of an instant promotion this season with boss Darren Ferguson able to sign seven new players.
John Marquis has joined from Milwall fresh from a promotion-winning loan spell at Northampton Town, while Mathieu Baudry brings plenty of lower-league experience after signing from Orient.
Pools boss Craig Hignett has already admitted it looks a “tasty fixture” and, if his side can be in and around Rovers in the table ahead of it, then it will surely mean for a key encounter.