After back-to-back wins in the cup, the Graeme Lee and Michael Nelson era is well underway as Hartlepool United prepare for the visit of Rochdale. After watching his side defeat Sheffield Wednesday in the Papa John’s Trophy last week, Lee led his side to a 1-0 victory over Lincoln City in the FA Cup this weekend. Now, they welcome Rochdale to the Suit Direct Stadium looking to kickstart their league form.
Rochdale are currently 13th in League Two, just a point ahead of Pools in a congested mid-table. They’ve claimed five wins from their opening fixtures, and their previous five league games show just one win. After defeating Barrow at the end of October, The Dale have drawn with Leyton Orient, Walsall, Stevenage, and Exeter.
The side is led by manager Robbie Stockdale. Familiar names in the Rochdale squad include top scorer Alex Newby and captain Eoghan O’Connell, a former Celtic defender.
This will be the 148th fixture between the sides, with both sides fairing well in the past. Pools have won 51 of the previous fixtures, Dale have won 59, and 37 games have ended in a draw. The last time the sides met in the league, Rochdale ran out 3-0 winners. Goals from George Donnelly, Peter Cavanagh, and Graham Cummins saw Dale overcome a Pools side with current first-team coach Tony Sweeney on the bench. Former short-term Poolie Joe Bunney featured for Dale in that fixture.
After serving a three-match ban, Jamie Sterry is back in contention to face Dale. The influential right-back’s place has been ably filled by Reagan Ogle, so Lee and Nelson will have a decision to make on who will make the first 11. Good performances in cup games also give the management duo the right kind of headaches, with Tom Crawford, Will Goodwin, and Joe Grey all impressing when given their chances.
How to Follow
If you’re not coming along for Graeme Lee and Michael Nelson’s first home game, you can follow all the action via iFollow. A match pass is just £10, with coverage starting shortly before kick off with Alex Chandy and former Poolie Tommy Miller. Purchase your match pass below: