Our summer study of next term's National League opponents continues and today's feature takes us on a trip to Kent.
Nickname: The Stones
Colours: Yellow/Black/Yellow & Black
Who’s in charge?
Jay Saunders has been boss at Maidstone United since 2011 when he was unveiled as the new man in charge at the tender age of 32.
Saunders had two spells with the club as a player and was captain of The Stones prior to stepping up to the top job just over six years ago.
He has now got well over 300 games as a manager under his belt and has been linked with jobs in the EFL in the past though he insists he wants to make it there with Maidstone.
How did they get on last season?
Maidstone United consolidated their position in the National League last season when they finished 14th in their first season back in the division following promotion.
A strong finish to last term which saw them taste defeat just twice in their last fifteen games will give them encouragement that the forthcoming campaign can be even more successful.
They had an identical record both home and away last season and, while they won’t have been happy with ten home defeats, their eight wins on the road wasn’t bettered by anyone outside the top nine.
When did we last meet?
Whilst Pools have not played a competitive game against Maidstone United since they reformed at the turn of the century, there have been some games against a former Maidstone United outfit.
They reached the Football League in the late 1980s and we played them four times (winning three and drawing one) before financial difficulties meant they resigned from the League in 1992.
Where do they play?
Maidstone play their games at the Gallagher Stadium, a 4,200 capacity home which opened in July 2012 with a friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion. It was one of the stadiums in the division which has a 3G artificial surface.
When do we play them?
Maidstone will head to the North East relatively early in the campaign when he host them at Victoria Park on Saturday 2nd September.
Pools will then make the trip to play the reverse fixture on Good Friday, which lands on Friday 30th March 2018.
We get Mark Carruthers of NonLeagueDaily.com to give us his take on Maidstone’s prospects in 2017/18…
“The Stones were one of four sides to finish on 58 points and firmly entrenched themselves in mid-table in the National League last season.
“That was a solid performance in their first season in non-league’s top division since the club reformed in 1992.
“Their Gallagher Stadium home should be an uneasy environment for visiting teams, but their home form was their downfall last year.
“In manager Jay Saunders they have a bright, young manager and someone that knows the club inside-out.
“Since being appointed in 2011 he has helped the club build gradually and this season will be their first as a full-time club.
“Transfer business has been frequent and the capture of Woking forward Delano Sam-Yorke could prove a prudent move by Saunders.
“The Stones boss has looked down the league pyramid when bringing in new faces. Winger Tom Wraight has joined from East Thurrock United and Josh Hare made the move from Eastbourne Borough.
“How their new players step-up to the National League will dictate their performance this season but I do wonder if they could be looking over their shoulders come the end of term.”
How To Get There
Postcode: ME14 1LQ
By Road: Leave the M20 at Junction 6. Take the A229 towards Maidstone. Go straight across two roundabouts. On entering Maidstone at the third roundabout take the third exit onto James Whatman Way. The stadium will be in front of you.
By Train: There are two railway stations close to the stadium. Maidstone east which is a quarter of a mile away from the stadium and Maidstone Barracks which is half a mile away. Maidstone East is a five minute walk and is served from London Victoria and Ashford International.