By Jacob Hackett
Hartlepool United face Blackburn Rovers in competitive football for just the third time in their history on Wednesday evening as the two sides lock horns at Ewood Park in the first round of this season’s Carabao Cup.
To get the inside scoop on our unfamiliar opposition, Jacob Hackett spoke to Rovers fan Anthony Hilton regarding what we might expect from this week’s cup clash.
“With the loss of around half of what you would call our regular 11 from last season in the summer, including both our player of the season and club captain, I think most people would have struggled to expect any higher than mid-table,” said Anthony.
“But the appointment of Jon Dahl Tomasson has made everyone start to dream again. Six (points) from six so far, but with the squad as it is at present I would be happy with a top ten finish.”
“I think we were a little slow to get going with the late appointments of Gregg Broughton (Director of Football) and Tomasson, but the signings we have made so far seem to have been researched well and fit into the way the new manager wants to set up.
“I would say we are still two or three short, especially a centre-back and striker.”
The New Boss
“Again a very long recruitment process, but early signs, both in the way he sets his teams up and the positivity in his press conferences, suggest that we could be onto something special with Jon.”
Possible squad rotation vs Hartlepool
“I would have suggested the possibility of a completely different 11 if it was not for the lack of depth at centre half with two of our youngsters having picked up injuries in the last week,” explained the Rovers fan.
“I would definitely expect to see (Bradley) Dack, (Tyrhys) Dolan and (Dilan) Markanday given their first starts of the season.”
Blackburn player(s) to look out for
“Markanday was signed in January with a big reputation from Premier League 2 having been the league’s top scorer. Unfortunately he got injured 20 minutes into his debut and did not recover until the last game of the season. (He) was an unused sub in the opening game and then played for the U23s this weekend so (he) would probably look to use this game as an opportunity to impress the new manager.
Anthony is confident that it will be Rovers who progress to the next round. He said, “even with a raft of changes I would expect us to have a little too much, I would go for 3-1 (to Blackburn).”
Paul Hartley’s men take on their Sky Bet Championship opposition at 7.45pm on Wednesday 10th August, here’s how you can catch the action;
Pools fans can continue to purchase tickets via the Blackburn away ticket office. Tickets will be available right up to kick-off.
How to follow
If you can't make it to Ewood Park. You can listen to full match commentary live on Pools iFollow for £2.50. Purchase your audio pass here.