After Sunday's thrilling 3-2 victory over Bromley in the
Eliminator Round, Hartlepool United travel to Stockport County knowing another
win would see them travel to Ashton Gate for the National League Play-Off Final.
A brace for man of the match Rhys Oates and a smart finish from Luke Armstrongsaw us beat the Londoners and claim a place in this semi-final.
Stockport finished the regular season in third place,
pipping Pools on the final day of the season thanks to John Rooney's goal
against Yeovil Town. In all, the Hatters have won two of their last five,
defeating Yeovil and Wealdstone. They've also been held to three draws againstWoking, Torquay, and Dagenham & Redbridge.
The team is led by Simon Rusk, a former Brighton U23 coach,
and features names well-known to Poolies. Richie Bennett enjoyed a fruitful
loan spell at Victoria Park earlier in the season, while Macauley Southam-Halesand Mark Kitching have also spent time in the North East.
Alex Reid, John Rooney, and Paddy Madden are the dangermenfor Stockport, and the strikers have scored 43 goals between them this season.
This will be the 139th meeting between the sides, with Pools winning 49 of the previous encounters. 32 games have ended in a draw, while Stockport have claimed all three points in the other 57 matches. This season, Dave Challinor's men have taken four points from Sunday's opponents. In the home fixture, Pools ran out 4-0 winners after goals from Rhys Oates and Ryan Johnson, as well as a brace from Luke Armstrong. At Edgeley Park, the teams played out a 1-1 draw as Gavan Holohan got on the scoresheet.
The semi-final is expected to come too early for Lewis Cass
after the young defender pulled his hamstring in training last week. Otherwise,
Dave Challinor has the same team to choose from for this crucial fixture. Luke
Molyneux didn't appear on the bench during the eliminator round, but the formerSunderland winger may be recalled if the manager decides to make changes.
Ben Killip and Joe Grey are long-term absentees.
Watch, Listen, and Follow
Due to BT Sport's exclusivity agreement with the National
League, the game cannot be streamed by either club. Instead, it will be
broadcast on BT Sport 1 HD with coverage starting at 11.30am prior to the 12pmkick-off.
Mixlr commentary is available after our media team was
granted access, and this week Alex Chandy will be joined by club legend Adam
Boyd, a scorer in Pools' last play-off semi-final in 2005. The striker scored a
brace against Tranmere Rovers in the first leg of the League One Play-Off Semi
Final, and he'll be hoping that red-hot Rhys Oates can repeat the trick thisweek.
Updates will also be posted on our social media accounts,with coverage starting around 11am as the team is announced.