After a productive summer and a positive pre-season campaign, Hartlepool United are set for the National League season opener at Barnet on Saturday (3pm KO). Their most-recent win over Sunderland has given John Askey's side further cause for optimism, and Pools will be looking to carry on their good form this weekend.
Last season, Barnet finished fifth in the National League, 40 points behind runaway champions Wrexham. They lost out in the eliminator round of the play-offs, losing 2-1 to Boreham Wood, and they'll have lofty ambitions for the coming season.
Led by manager Dean Brennan, the Barnet side features a familiar name in Nicke Kabamba. The forward initially signed for Pools on loan in 2019 before making the move permanent in the summer. In all, Kabamba made 48 appearances for Pools, scoring 14 goals, including a brace against Barnet. Former Pools stopper Scott Loach was in goal for the Bees that day.
The sides have met 28 times in the past, with Pools winning 10 matches, Barnet victorious on 11 occasions, and seven matches ending in a draw. The last time the sides met, Pools won 1-0 thanks to Luke Armstrong's strike, and in all, Barnet have won just one of the last five meetings.
In Pools' 2006/07 promotion season, Barnet put a stop to a 21-game unbeaten run after winning 2-1 at Victoria Park. Jason Puncheon got the winner for the Bees after Eifion Williams' late equaliser.
Joe Grey is a minor doubt for the game after picking up a knock scoring Pools' fifth goal on Tuesday. He joins Kieran Wallace and Ollie Finney in the treatment room, while Mani Dieseruvwe serves the last game of a ban picked up while at Halifax. Otherwise, Askey has a full squad to choose from.
How to Follow
After selling out our initial allocation, further tickets have been provided by Barnet. Information on ticketing is available here.
If you're not heading to the capital, you can follow all the action via National League TV. For domestic supporters, only audio coverage is available for Saturday fixtures, and more information is available here.