After an entertaining start to 2023, Hartlepool United turn their attention to the FA Cup as they welcome 2011 finalists Stoke City to the Suit Direct Stadium on Sunday (2pm KO).
Stoke currently play in the Championship and sit in 18th place after 26 games. Led by former Sunderland manager Alex Neil, the Potters' side features plenty of experience. Former Everton and England centre-back Phil Jagielka bolsters their defence, while Sam Clucas, Lewis Baker, and Nick Powell bring further Premier League quality.
The side does feature a former Poolie in Josh Laurent. The midfielder appeared for Pools in the 2016-17 season, and he joined Stoke in June 2022 after a successful period at Reading.
The sides have met eight times in the past, with Pools winning the last two clashes. In 1993, the late Lennie Johnrose scored to give Viv Busby's side a league win at The Victoria Ground in Staffordshire, while a famous FA Cup match in 2009 also saw Pools claim a win.
Tony Pulis's side visited Victoria Park packed with Premier League experience, but Michael Nelson's opener and a David Foley wonder-goal saw Chris Turner's Pools run out 2-0 winners. Current first-team coach Tony Sweeney featured for Pools in the game, though he was replaced by Jamie McCunnie early on.
Jamie Sterry is touch and go ahead of the fixture after feeling soreness in the game against Mansfield. Mohammed Niang, Mika Ndjoli, and Jake Hastie are likely to miss out, too, while Alex Lacey is a long-term absentee with a shoulder injury. New signing Matty Dolan is cup-tied and ineligible to feature.
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