We take a closer look at five fixtures that could play a big role in how the 2017/18 National League campaign unfolds for Craig Harrison’s men.
Pools v Dover Athletic, Saturday 5th August 2017
The opening day of any season is obviously important but Pools will definitely be looking to put down a marker under the watch of new boss Craig Harrison. It’s a new era for the Club in a new division and there will certainly be a determination among the squad to find their bearings quickly and get some points on the board. The Whites finished just short of a play-off spot last year and were a bit all or nothing away from home (they only drew twice on their travels) so it’s a tough start but one Pools will hope to secure victory from.
Leyton Orient v Pools, Saturday 16th September 2017
Orient were relegated alongside Pools last term and this fixture will represent a good chance for both clubs to gauge how well they have recovered. Last season’s Easter trip to Brisbane Road was one of the poorest performances of Pools’ campaign but they will hope to fare much better this time around. Under new ownership, The O’s will hope to get off to a strong start themselves so this game will provide a real test for Craig Harrison’s men.
Torquay United v Pools, Saturday 28th October 2017
Pools will make their longest trip of the season when they travel to Torquay United at the end of October. There are over 365 miles between Victoria Park and Plainmoor so it’s fair to say that preparations will have to be spot on for Pools as they head to the English Riviera. However, if they can emerge from that fuel-busting trip with a positive result it will give them real heart for the further long trips to Boreham Wood, Ebbsfleet United and Dover Athletic in the weeks afterwards.
Pools v Gateshead, Monday 1st January 2018
Having travelled to the International Stadium on Boxing Day, Pools will kick-off the New Year in fine style when we host local rivals Gateshead. There is bound to be a bumper crowd and cracking atmosphere for their visit too – their first competitive trip to The Vic to play Pools since they reformed in 1977. Craig Harrison will be keen to emerge from a hectic festive schedule with a positive points haul and a strong performance on the opening day of 2018 would be just the tonic for any lingering hangovers on the terraces!
Tranmere Rovers v Pools, Saturday 28th April 2018
On paper, this fixture seems to have the potential to be huge. Pools will be aiming for promotion back to the EFL at the first attempt, while Tranmere are favourites after being pipped at the post last term. The Prenton Park outfit somehow managed to miss out on promotion despite a club record 95 points and there will be a real determination to avoid similar heartache this time around. Both sides will have drawn breath sharply when they saw they were scheduled to clash on the final day – it could be a pivotal afternoon.