Hartlepool United v Northampton Town: Match Preview

hartlepool-uniteedHartlepool United v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, November 23rd 2013

It’s rare to go into the weekend with the Cobblers off the back of two successive victories but, after the cup win at Bishop’s Stortford and the morale boosting 1-0 win over Fleetwood Town last weekend, we make the long journey to Hartlepool with much more of a spring in our steps. The Monkey Hangers are comfortably perched in mid-table after a poor start to the season and will be going all out to bounce back from a 2-0 reverse at Newport County last weekend.

That win for the Cobblers on Saturday could be absolutely huge in terms of confidence in the camp and if we can go to Victoria Park and get something to add to that it puts us back in good stead for an escape from the bottom two. We’ll have to contend with one of the leading lights from the first part of the League Two season with Pools striker Luke James in top form – he’s hit eight goals so far and is likely to really put Paul Reid and Mathias Doumbe through the mill.

The good news this week for us is that Luke Norris will be staying until January with an extension of his loan deal complete. Norris has struck five times in six games including that belter at Sixfields against Fleetwood and will be chomping at the bit to add to his tally.

Strikers in focus, then, at Victoria Park in what should be a decent afternoon’s entertainment for those brave souls who make the long journey!

Team News…

Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper has no new injury worries ahead of the game with the only absence being that of young defender Dan Jones who recently underwent surgery to solve a knee problem.

For the Cobblers, Chris Hackett went off injured during Saturday’s win over Fleetwood but he’s been given the all clear to make the trip and should start. Clive Platt, Kevin Amankwaah and Matt Heath are all back in training but only Amankwaah and Heath are expected to be in the squad with Platt not being rushed back. Roy O’Donovan is still not fully fit whilst Kelvin Langmead and Alex Nicholls remain out until at least the New Year.

Previous Six Meetings…

31/08/10: Hartlepool 4-0 Cobblers (JPT First Round)

A comfortable win for the Pools in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as goals from Evan Horwood, Anthony Sweeney, Andy Monkhouse and Denis Behan sent them into the Second Round.

16/01/09: Hartlepool 2-0 Cobblers (League One)

Joel Porter’s brace helped the hosts to a good win over the Cobblers the last time the clubs met in the league.

10/10/08: Cobblers 1-0 Hartlepool (League One)

Karl Hawley’s first half goal was enough to give Town victory at Sixfields in a tight contest in October 2008.

22/02/08: Hartlepool 0-1 Cobblers (League One)

This one looked as though it was petering out towards a goalless draw until Giles Coke popped up with a big goal for the Cobblers to nick the three points with just eight minutes to play.

12/01/08: Cobblers 1-1 Hartlepool (League One)

Just over a month earlier and the sides shared the spoils at Sixfields. Liam Dolman had the Cobblers in front early on but Ben Clark netted on the stroke of half time to earn his side a point.

04/03/00: Hartlepool 1-2 Cobblers (Division Three)

Paul Stephenson struck early to put Hartlepool a goal up before Graham Lee added a second for the home side on the half hour mark. Carlo Corazzin hit back and halved the deficit for Town but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat at Victoria Park.

The man in the middle…

The official for this one is Mark Haywood, who has already taken charge of a Cobblers game this season – the 1-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers where he sent off Roy O’ Donovan in stoppage time. His last Hartlepool game was their 2-1 home defeat to Chesterfield back in April 2012. So far this season, Haywood has shown 33 yellow cards and 3 reds in 14 games.

Prediction…

This should be another marker for the new look Cobblers starting eleven and will arguably tell us more about our prospects than last Saturday. If we can gather together the battling qualities shown against Fleetwood then we stand a good chance of coming away from this one with a point. 1-1.

From the Opposition…

To hear from the Hartlepool side of things, check out this week’s Fan Feature, with Pools fan Paul Bage.

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