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Club News

The inside track on Hartlepool United

9 September 2022

Club News

The inside track on Hartlepool United

9 September 2022

Rovers are looking to bounce back against Hartlepool United in Sky Bet League Two this weekend.

Gary McSheffrey’s side were beaten for the first time in the league this season by Mansfield Town at the Eco-Power Stadium last time out.

Here we provide all the details on our latest opponents.

Manager

Paul Hartley was appointed as Hartlepool manager in the summer after guiding Cove Rangers to the Scottish League One title last season. 

The Scot’s first managerial experience came with Alloa Athletic in 2011. After rebuilding the squad on the back of a relegation, he guided them to consecutive promotions up to the Scottish Championship. He resigned in January 2014 after a 5-1 loss to Dumbarton and less than a month later was in charge at Dundee, who went on to win promotion to the Scottish Premiership that season.

The Dee went on to finish sixth and eighth in the SPL during Hartley’s tenure, before he was sacked in April 2017, subsequently taking over any Falkirk. He would stay for less than a year though and Cove were his next challenge in the fourth tier of Scottish football. After immediately guiding the club to win promotion in his first season and reaching the League One play-offs in his second, he led Cove to another promotion in the 2021-22 campaign, as the club won the title and progressed to the Scottish Championship.

Early season form

Pools are yet to win in Sky Bet League Two and currently sit 23rd in the table after seven league games. Their season got off to the worst possible start with a 4-0 defeat at Walsall, before earning their first point at home to AFC Wimbledon a week later. 

They were then beaten at Northampton Town and at home to Bradford City, either side of a goalless draw against Tranmere Rovers. After losing 4-2 at Leyton Orient, Hartlepool were seconds away from their first win in their last outing, before a late equaliser for Colchester meant they had to settle for a point.

Key men

Defender Alex Lacey joined Hartlepool from National League side Notts County in the summer transfer window. After starting his professional career at Luton Town, Lacey played 44 times for the Hatters before joining Yeovil Town.

He spent two years in Somerset before a further two seasons at Gillingham, which saw him pass the milestone of 100 league appearances. The 29-year-old signed for Notts County in 2019 and was instrumental in the Magpies twice reaching the National League play-offs during his three years at Meadow Lane.

Captain Nicky Featherstone will go down as a Hartlepool legend after making almost 350 appearances for the club since signing in 2014.

The 33-year-old former Hull City trainee played a crucial role in helping Pools fight their way back to the EFL after relegation in 2017. Featherstone, who has also played for Hereford and Walsall in the past, played 41 times which ended in a play-off final victory over Torquay United at Ashton Gate.

His career has seen him surpass the 500 appearance mark with plenty left in the tank for the Hartlepool skipper.

Much travelled striker Wes McDonald joined Hartlepool in the summer after spending last season with Sky Bet League One side Morecambe. 

The 25-year-old began his career at Birmingham City and spent time out on loan with Non League outfits Nuneaton and Solihull Moors, before a permanent move to Yeovil Town in 2018. The most productive spell of his career so far was with Walsall, where he played 81 times over a two-year period, scoring 10 goals.

He has had a decent start to his time at Victoria Park, scoring in his past two league outings against Leyton Orient and Colchester United respectively. 

Last league meeting

Rovers were beaten 2-1 at Victoria Park on the final day of the 2016/17 Sky Bet League Two campaign. Andy Williams had given Darren Ferguson’s side a half-time lead, before a double from Devante Rodney turned the game around for Hartlepool.

There was plenty riding on the game, but both clubs were ultimately left disappointed as Rovers missed out on the league title and Pools were relegated out of the EFL after results elsewhere went against them.

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