Get in the zone ahead of the first home game of the new campaign with our full and in-depth preview of Tuesday night’s action.
Pools v Harrogate Town
Tuesday 7th August 2018, 7.45pm
Harrogate Town showed their ambition by going full-time last term and reaped the benefits as they immediately emerged as one of the real contenders for promotion from National League North.
Whilst they didn’t quite have enough to keep pace with Salford City, Town finished as runners-up and went on to clinch their promotion by beating Brackley Town in the Play-Off Final.
Boss Simon Weaver knows the club inside out having been at the helm since back in 2009 and has overseen steady progress since which culminated in last year’s ultimate glory.
This season is the first in which Town have operated in the fifth tier but they’ve kept the majority of their promotion-winning squad together and have added some good experience.
There are plans already in place in invest heavily in stadium improvements so Town won’t feel out of place at the higher level, in fact there is a belief within the North Yorkshire outfit that this season can be about more than consolidation.
After defeating Brackley Town in the Play-Off Final last season, Harrogate Town rubbed further salt in their wounds by swooping to pinch their top scorer Aaron Williams.
The 24-year-old smashed an incredible 33 goals in all competitions last term and his exploits caught the eye of Town boss Simon Weaver who said the decision to sign him was a “no brainer”.
A former Walsall, Peterborough United and Newport County hitman, Williams has now plundered over 100 career goals and was capped at England C level whilst with Brackley last term.
Head To Head
Tuesday’s game will be the first time the clubs have met in competitive action, though they have done battle in pre-season friendlies a couple of times in recent years.
Saturday 15th July 2017
Harrogate Town 2 (Knowles 68, Thomson 77) Pools 1 (Deverdics 90)
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, O’Hanlon (Parker 30), Falkingham, Middleton, Burrell, Thomson, Emmett, Ainge (Day 68), Thewlis (Knowles 63), Leesley.
Subs not used: Wakefield, McIntosh, Gooda, Lees, Charles, Worrall, Hallwood.
Pools: Pierson, Donnelly, Harrison (Richardson 46), Laing (Adams 46), Risborough, Newton (Donaldson 46), Featherstone (Hawkes 46), Hawkins (Deverdics 58), Smith (Woods 58), Mondal, Amond (Oates 46).
Experienced referee Joe Johnson will be holding all the cards on Tuesday night when he’s the man in charge for Harrogate Town’s visit to The Vic.
Johnson oversaw several Pools fixtures last term; he saw us draw at Wrexham in September, beat FC Halifax Town at home in November and then draw with Gateshead on New Year’s Day.
Now in to his fourth season on the National League list of referees, his last visit to The Vic came when he presided over Solihull Moors’ 1-0 win in April when he sent off their defender Liam Daly late on.
Brian Honour will be alongside Mark Simpson in the Victoria Park press box on Tuesday night to provide live online commentary for Pools PlayerHD subscribers all over the world.
Fans can purchase tickets in advance from the Victoria Park Ticket Office which is open from 12noon until kick-off on Tuesday.
We’ll also be opening a Matchday Ticket Office behind the EDC Neale Cooper Stand at 6.15pm for fans to go along and buy their tickets.
Sky Bet have installed Pools as 7/5 favourites for three points, with visitors Harrogate Town priced at 9/5 and the draw available at odds of 23/10.