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Club News

Match preview: FA Cup Magic

6 January 2022

After Tuesday evening’s victory over League One Bolton Wanderers, Hartlepool United are preparing to welcome Blackpool to the Suit Direct Stadium in the FA Cup third round (12.30pm KO). Matty Daly’s strike was enough to see Pools get past Bolton in a high-tempo performance, and Graeme Lee will hope for a similar showing on Saturday.

The Opposition

Blackpool are currently 12th in the Championship, just six points behind Middlesbrough in the final play-off place. They’ve won two of their last five games, defeating Hull City and Peterborough, but losing to Middlesbrough, Huddersfield, and Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.

Led by former Liverpool under-23s manager Neil Critchley, the Seasiders team features former Derby captain Richard Keogh and experienced forward Gary Madine. Their top scorer is Shayne Lavery, with the forward bagging eight goals so far this season.

The History

This will be the 28th meeting between the sides and the first since 2017. Previously, Pools have won eight games, drawn six, and lost 13 against the Tangerines. Last time out, Pools were beaten 2-1 after goals from Bright Osayi-Samuel and Kyle Vassell cancelled out Lewis Alessandra’s opener. Pools forward Mark Cullen played for Blackpool in the game, making way for the matchwinner, Vassell.

Pools’ last win over Blackpool was in 2005, when three of the current coaching staff featured. Tony Sweeney got the equaliser before Steven Istead scored a late winner, Dimi Konstantopolous played in goal, and Michael Nelson played centre-half, picking up a booking along the way.

Team News

Graeme Lee has a selection headache after the excellent showing from fringe players on Tuesday evening. The usual midfield three of Featherstone, Holohan, and Shelton were all on the bench, with Smith, Daly, and Crawford all showing their quality and pressing claims for further starts. Eddie Jones covered well at right-back, and Jamie Sterry’s shoulder injury may see the Stoke loanee continue there.

How to Follow

If you’re not heading to the Suit Direct Stadium on Saturday, you can follow live commentary on iFollow. Coverage starts shortly before kick-off and you can also get live updates via Facebook and Twitter.

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