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Match Previews

Preview: Hartlepool (A)

Get ready for our trip to the north-east

21 February 2020

We make the trip to Hartlepool on Saturday as we seek three points from the first game of a busy week.

After our visit to Victoria Park, we head to the north-west for our rearranged fixture against AFC Fylde on Tuesday night before hosting Aveley in a Buildbase FA Trophy quarter-final next weekend.

Results so far in February have kept us fighting on all fronts and we’ll look to go one better than our draw with Woking last time out.

We’ve lost just once in 13 games in all competitions and hope to keep that form going on the North Sea coast to hold on to our spot in the play-offs.

Hartlepool have their sights set on the top seven themselves. Although they’re 12th, they’re only four points adrift coming into this weekend and have lost just twice in 2020.

Their game fell foul to the rain last week so they’ve had extra time to prepare and should be well rested ahead of our visit.

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Neal Ardley says…

“We’re in a period of games that could mean we push towards our aim, which is a spot in the top three, but get it wrong and the play-offs could be a distant memory.

“Saturday’s game will be completely different to November’s meeting. They did a job on us last time by counter-attacking but I expect them to take the game to us this weekend.

“Dave Challinor has got them going and they’re playing brave, rotational football and will get numbers into our half.

“We’ll have to be very good without the ball to get anything.”

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Pools' Gary Liddle says…

"I’ve always enjoyed coming up against Notts County. I love that club and I always look out for them.

"My time there was probably the most successful of my career. In my first season I picked up four Player of the Year awards and broke Pedro Richards’ 30-year record of playing every minute of every game.

"I captained the club at Anfield, walking out with Steven Gerrard beside me, and it was an honour to be voted in their team of the decade recently, too. 

"They’re a massive club and, like Hartlepool, they don’t deserve to be where they are.

"But as cliched as it is, sentiments go out of the window on Saturday. I’ll certainly be hoping to get one over on them."

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Team news

We welcome Michael Doyle back from suspension this weekend after serving his three-game ban.

Alex Lacey could be in contention to return to the squad after missing out last week, while new boy Adam Long will hope to make his debut after signing on Thursday.

Wes Thomas remains absent following his red card at Yeovil a fortnight ago, while Damien McCrory, Ben Turner, Sam Slocombe, Zoumana Bakayogo and Regan Booty continue to miss out through injury.

For Pools, Gavan Holohan is back in contention after serving a one-game suspension and the midfielder will be hoping for an instant return to the starting XI.

Michael Raynes, Fraser Kerr, Adam Bale, Luke James and Luke Williams are all still sidelined.

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Head to head

We’ll be seeking a third consecutive win at Victoria Park after this season’s reverse fixture ended level thanks to our two-goal comeback.

Holohan and James gave the visitors what looked like a comfortable advantage but Thomas’ brace made sure we earned a share of the points in November.

Notts wins: 16

Pools wins: 12

Draws: 6

The officials

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Assistants: Alex James and Lewis Dawson

Fourth official: Gareth Thomas

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