All you need to know ahead of Victoria Park trip
Hartlepool United v Luton Town
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 3rd October 2015, kick-off 3pm
Live coverage on lutontown.co.uk and Hatters Player
• Town won four of last five in League 2
• Hatters aiming for fourth straight win
• Pools won one of last seven in league
• Hatters won four of last six visits to Hartlepool
• Town leading scorers away in L2 (11 goals)
WHO? Hartlepool United, aka Pools, aka the Monkey Hangers. Formed in 1908, they are managed by former Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore. Last season Hartlepool were 10 points adrift of safety before Moore’s arrival, yet a strong second half of the campaign saw Pools survive. They finished 22nd come the end of the season, but hopes are high at Victoria Park of a successful campaign this time round.
MONKEY WHAT? Hartlepool are known as Pools as they were once known as Hartlepools United, whilst their Monkey Hangers moniker takes a little more explanation. According to local folklore the term originates from an incident in which a monkey was hanged in Hartlepool. During the Napoleonic War a French ship was wrecked off the cost of the town with the only survivor a monkey dressing in uniform. Believing it be a French spy the creature was the hanged and ever since the term has been attached to the town.
WHERE? Victoria Park has been the Pools one and only home in their history and its current capacity is 7,856. Its record attendance was 17,264 for the visit of Matt Busby’s Manchester United in an FA Cup tie in 1957. Town supporters will be housed in the Rink End behind one of the goals. It is an all-seated and covered stand which holds just under 1,000.
TICKETS PLEASE. As of Thursday afternoon 250 tickets had been sold to Town supporters from the Luton Town ticket office. However, Hatters fans can pay on the day at Victoria Park. Click here for admission information and prices.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. It could be a case of as you were for the Hatters at Hartlepool following Tuesday’s win at Morecambe. Paul Benson is the only definite doubt with a neck injury. Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and Magnus Okuonghae are now fully fit and expected to play a part in Tuesday’s JPT game at Gillingham.
HOW TO GET THERE. The trip to the North East is one of the Town’s longest of the season, some 227 miles from the Maple Road car park to Victoria Park. On a good day it should take just a smidgen over four hours in the car. *deep breath* Coming off the A1 take the A19 and from the A19 take the A689 towards Hartlepool. Stay on this road following the town centre signs for 2.8 miles, over two roundabouts. Go straight over the next two sets of lights, passing Hartlepool College on your right. The next left takes you to the stadium. There is a fair sized car park at the ground. For the sat-nav savvy punch in TS24 8BZ to get you there.
BOB IT. If you don’t fancy driving 454 miles, let someone else (preferably a certified coach driver) do it for you. The Bobbers Travel Club are running a coach to Victoria Park. They depart the Luton bus station at the bright and early time at 8.30am. The fare is £33 for adults and £30 for concessions. Call 01234 856542 to book your place.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? The two clubs have met 19 times in total down the years with the Town holding sway in the head-to-head record with 11 wins to Pools’ seven. Only once have the two sides drawn a game. At Victoria Park, however, the Town have won four to Hartlepool’s six. Two of the Hatters’ wins at VP came in the Football League came during seasons that the Town went on to win promotion (December 2001 and February 2005). The Hatters did the double over Pools last term, winning 2-1 at Victoria Park thanks to goals from Mark Cullen and Jim Stevenson. The Hatters won the return at Kenilworth Road 3-0 with Cameron McGeehan, Jake Howells and Scott Griffiths on target.
OLD BOYS NETWORK. Steve Howard is perhaps the best-known player to have represented both clubs. The centre-forward first signed professional forms whilst with Pools, joining from Tow Law Town. He moved to Northampton before being snapped up by Joe Kinnear in 2001. Howard went onto enjoy huge success at Kenilworth Road, scoring 103 goals in 228 appearances. The Town signed Adam Boyd from Hartlepool in 2006 but he never truly reached his potential with the Hatters and returned to the North East in 2009. Manager Mike Newell also managed both clubs, and guided both the Town and Hartlepool to promotion.
THIS TIME ROUND. Hartlepool currently sit in 17th place in League 2 on 13 points. Pools started the season on fire, winning their first four matches in all competitions. However, they lost their next four matches. They drew at home to Cambridge and then won at Yeovil but on Tuesday night they lost 3-0 at home to Bristol Rovers. On home turf Pools have won two, drawn one and lost two of their five games, scoring five times.
DID YOU KNOW? While Hartlepool have scored just five goals at home, the Town have scored 11 goals away from home this season – more than any other League 2 side. The Hatters have also won eight of the last 11 meetings against Pools (W8 D1 L2)
REF WATCH. Richard Clarke takes charge of Saturday’s game. So far this season the Northumberland-based whistler has shown 21 yellow cards in seven matches so far. He oversaw one Town game last season, the 1-1 draw at Oxford in February.
LIVE AND ONLINE. As ever, we’ll be reporting live from the Victoria Park. Build-up starts at noon, so get on our early blog on the Wall for all the latest updates. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for photos, videos and all the behind-the-scenes action. Hatters Player subscribers will be able to listen to live commentary from just before 3pm with Simon Pitts in the press box. Post-match, remember to check out the official website, YouTube channel and Player for reports, interviews and photographs and don’t forget to tune in from midday on Tuesday for all the highlights in glorious HD!