We continue our summer series taking a closer look at our opponents for 2017/18 and next up we take a trip to Hampshire.
Nickname: The Shots
Who’s in charge?
Gary Waddock returned to Aldershot Town for a second spell in charge of the club last summer after previously being boss between 2007 and 2009.
The former QPR, Millwall, Bristol Rovers and Luton Town midfielder got his first taste of management with The Shots before landing the top job at Wycombe Wanderers where he spent three years.
Waddock had a short spell in charge at Oxford United prior to a change in ownership and briefly took caretaker charge of Portsmouth before re-surfacing at Aldershot in May 2016.
How did they get on last season?
It was a case of so near yet so far for Aldershot last term as a fantastic run of form saw them squeeze in to the play-offs only to be beaten in the semi-finals by Tranmere Rovers.
The Shots took an impressive 23 points from the last available 29 to secure sixth spot in the table but were beaten 3-0 in the first leg of their play-off to hand Rovers the initiative.
They drew 2-2 at Prenton Park three days later but it wasn’t enough and Gary Waddock’s men will be looking to hit back in 2017/18 in what will be their fifth consecutive season in the National League.
When did we last meet?
Not that long ago in the grand scheme of things. It was actually as recently as December 2004 when Pools hosted Aldershot in the Second Round of the FA Cup.
Chris Westwood and Adam Boyd both scored twice and Mark Tinkler also found the net as we ran out 5-1 winners at The Vic.
Overall, we’ve played each other 56 times down the years and Aldershot boast the better record having won 25 times in comparison to Pools’ 19 triumphs.
Where do they play?
The Recreation Ground has been home to Aldershot Town since their initial inception in 1927 and currently has a capacity of just over 7,000.
When do we play them?
The National League fixtures are due to be released around 5th July.
Mark Carruthers, of NonLeagueDaily.com, gives us his take on Aldershot Town…
“Aldershot Town are slowly becoming stalwarts of the National League and the 2017/18 season will be their fifth consecutive season in non-league’s top tier. The Shots were founded in 1992, following the demise of Aldershot FC.
“They began the long road back to the Football League in the Ryman League’s third tier in the 1992/93 and achieved two successive promotions over the next two seasons.
“It wasn’t until 2003 when they returned to non-league’s top tier, as manager Terry Brown led them to the Ryman Premier League title. Life at a higher level suited the Shots as they achieved two successive play-off finishes, albeit unsuccessful ones.
“Brown departed in 2007 and his successor was Gary Waddock, the man that is currently in charge of the Shots after returning in 2016.
“During his first spell in charge, Waddock led them to the Football League as they romped to the Conference title, eventually winning it by fifteen points.
“They remained a Football League club for five seasons, but were relegated in 2013, as financial worries led to the club being placed into administration days after their demotion.
“Slowly but surely, they have found their feet in the National League and last season they produced their best finish yet, securing a play-off spot with a fifth placed finish.
“A 5-2 aggregate defeat against Tranmere Rovers meant the season ended in disappointment but hopes are high that they can challenge at the top end of the National League again next season.
“Their Recreation Ground home will be familiar to Pools fans, who will have visited during the Shots’ Football League days. The last two times that the two sides have faced each other, Pools have come out on the right end of a 5-1 scoreline. Those games came in the FA Cup Second Round in 2004/05 and in the last league meeting between the two sides in March 1991.
“One player to watch next season is the Shots’ exciting young striker Idriss Kanu. The 17-year-old spent time on trial at Manchester United in September 2016 before signing for the Shots and, amidst speculation that Premier League and Championship clubs were interested in securing his services, he signed his first professional deal with the Shots on his 17th birthday in December.
“With the vastly experienced Gary Waddock at the helm, and a number of exciting young players, I see no reason why the Shots can’t match, or even improve, on their fifth place finish from last season.”