Still unbeaten under Graeme Lee, Hartlepool United are looking to get back to winning ways as they travel to Mansfield on Boxing Day. Despite putting pressure on the Scunthorpe backline two weeks ago, Pools were unable to make a breakthrough, and this is something that Lee and Nelson will want to see remedied.
Mansfield are currently 11th in the table, two points above Pools. They’ve won eight of their opening 21 games and recently defeated Carlisle and Salford at Field Mill. The side is led by Nigel Clough, son of former Pools manager and football legend, Brian Clough.
A familiar name features in attack for Mansfield in Rhys Oates. Though his departure in the summer was disappointing for Pools fans, the attacker’s goals, assists, and overall efforts last season saw him win the Player of the Year, Fans’ Player of the Year, and Goal of the Season award as he and Luke Armstrong fired Pools back to the Football League.
This will be the 91st meeting between the sides, with Pools winning on 30 previous occasions. Mansfield have been the victors in 43 clashes, and 17 games have ended in a draw. The last meeting between the sides came shortly before Pools were relegated to the National League in 2017. Mansfield ran out 4-0 winners after a brace from Benjamin Whiteman and goals from Danny Rose and Alex MacDonald. Former Pools loanee Jake Kean was the ‘keeper for Mansfield. This is not the first time Pools have played the stags on Boxing day. The festive fixture in 2014 saw two goals, three red cards and a point per side as the game finished 1-1.
Lee and Nelson have a full squad to choose from, and with a busy winter schedule just beginning, rotation may be considered. Gavan Holohan is keen to add to his 100 appearances for Pools, though he faces stiff competition from Mark Shelton, Tom Crawford, and Maty Daly for a place in the middle. Jamie Sterry recently celebrated his 50thappearance and one-year anniversary with the club, with the full-back looking to add to his one goal so far this season.
If you’re not making the journey to Mansfield, you can live stream the full game live on Pools iFollow by buying a match pass below: