Having overcome the recent spate of draws with a win at Crawley on Tuesday night, City will be in buoyant mood heading into their longest away trip of the season on Saturday. Christy Pym missed the Crawley match having tweaked his groin against Blackpool, and even if he’s fit to return the impressive display from Bobby Olejnik on Tuesday may convince Paul Tisdale to keep the Austrian in sticks at Hartlepool. Otherwise it remains very much “as you were” with Tisdale unlikely to make many changes, if any, to his current preferred outfield ten.
It seems to be the case now that Hartlepool endure a season of struggle at the wrong end of the League Two table, and a recent dip in form has plunged Pools towards the drop zone, currently occupying the first place above the dreaded dotted line, although a 4-0 thumping of fellow strugglers Crewe on Tuesday night sees them six points clear of Leyton Orient. That win was of welcome relief to veteran manager Dave Jones, appointed in January after a 3-year hiatus from the game, but he knows Pools will have to improve their form over the next couple of months to pull clear of the relegation zone. Ex-Plymouth front man Lewis Alessandra scored twice in that win over Crewe, while Padraig Amond, last season’s National League top scorer, hasn’t come close to repeating last season’s form where he scored 33 goals but is the club’s top scorer with 12. In all 32 players have been used in the league, never a strong sign.
The reverse fixture saw the start of City’s terrible home form – leading 1-0 through Liam McAlinden and looking comfortable, City imploded late on as goals in successive minutes from Michael Woods and Billy Paynter secured the points for the visitors. City will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s visit to the north east, where goals from Alex Nicholls and Joel Grant secured a 2-0 victory. City enjoy a healthy league head to head lead over Hartlepool with 34 wins to Pools’ 25 (22 draws).
The match officials for the game will be
Referee: Robert Lewis
Assistant Referees: David Benton and Stephen Wade
Fourth Official Graeme Fyvie
Lewis has refereed just the six Exeter games, the most recent being the 3-0 defeat of Colchester in January, more details at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=rob+lewis
Details of our last trip to Hartlepool can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?sp_event=4084