We turn our attentions to the weekend with a full and in-depth preview of our trip to Holker Street.
Barrow v Hartlepool United
Vanarama National League
Saturday 10th February 2018, 3pm
Saturday’s opponents Barrow find themselves two places and three points behind Pools in the National League table having gone seven games without a win.
However, Ady Pennock’s men do have a game in hand on Pools and could leapfrog Craig Harrison’s side in the table with a victory this weekend.
Having finished just seven points shy of a play-off spot last term, Barrow’s loyal fan base will have been hoping to see a more sustained challenge for a return to the EFL this time around.
However, there was disruption as early as August when boss Paul Cox left by mutual consent and his successor Micky Moore lasted only eight weeks before Pennock arrived in the hotseat in late October.
Pennock’s appointment coincided with an upturn in fortunes on the pitch and they won six of his first nine games in charge but they’ve now not tasted victory since before Christmas and slipped down the table to 20th.
One To Watch
Former Pools star Luke James joined Barrow on loan from Forest Green Rovers last month and looks likely to get the nod to start for The Bluebirds on Saturday.
James burst on to the scene as a 17-year-old at Victoria Park and became the youngest player to score a league goal for the Club when he hit the net against Rochdale in January 2012.
He went on to score 22 goals in 100 games before moving on to Peterborough United in 2014 though he did return to The Vic on loan in 2015/16 when he played another 20 games and added one more goal to his tally.
Now 23, James debuted for Barrow in their 3-1 loss at Torquay last week and now looks set to go up in opposition to Pools for the first time.
Head To Head
The meeting between the two sides in October was the first since 1972 though the two clubs were regular opponents up until then and have played 86 times in the past.
Pools have the edge historically having won 35 times in comparison to Barrow’s 32 but each of the last five encounters between the sides have gone with home advantage.
It’s a fixture which has usually provided goals – indeed Pools registered their biggest-ever league win against The Bluebirds when they were beaten 10-1 at The Vic in April 1959.
Paul Marsden will take charge of his first-ever Pools game this weekend when he is the man on the whistle for Saturday’s game at Barrow.
The official is in his first season on the National League list of referees and has overseen 13 games so far this term, the most recent being Wrexham’s 2-0 win at Guiseley on Saturday.
Marsden has twice presided over Barrow home games this season, watching them draw with Torquay United in September and fall to defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge in December.
We’ll be linking-up with our friends at BBC Tees to provide live commentary for Pools PlayerHD subscribers all over the planet so if you can’t get to the game you can stay in touch with the action.
Click here for more information on joining Pools PlayerHD on a Monthly Pass for just £4.49.
Pools fans can make a saving by buying their tickets in advance for Saturday’s game, though they will also be available on the turnstiles prior to kick-off at Holker Street.
Click here for full information on buying tickets for the game.