• Town yet to win at home under Nathan Jones
• Hatters drawn two and lost one at Kenilworth Road
• Town prevailed 4-1 in the sides' other meeting this year
• Hartlepool currently 22nd in League, three points clear of the drop zone
• Pool lost three out of their last four matches
• Visitors not won at Kenilworth Road since 1967
• Player's charity Happy Days will be at Saturday's game
WHO? Hartlepool United, aka Pools, aka the Monkey Hangers. Formed in 1908, they are managed by Craig Hignett after former Ronnie Moore left by “mutual consent” just a couple of weeks ago. 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, and face another tough season in their bid for Football League survival.
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.
. Category C tickets remain available for the Pools’ visit, available online, at the ticket office and the turnstiles (subject to availability). More details can be found here.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. It could be a case of as you were for the Hatters against Hartlepool following last Saturday’s defeat to AFC Wimbledon, although Alex Lawless could return from injury. Dan Potts and Mark O’Brien played in a midweek development fixture in a bid to return to the first-team squad, while Josh McQuoid, Nathan Doyle and Ryan Hall remain sidelined.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? The two clubs have met 20 times in total down the years with the Town holding sway in the head-to-head record with 12 wins to Pools’ seven. Only once have the two sides drawn a game. The Hatters did the double over Pools last term, winning 2-1 at Victoria Park thanks to goals from Mark Cullen and Jim Stevenson, also winning the return at Kenilworth Road 3-0 with Cameron McGeehan, Jake Howells and Scott Griffiths on target. Hartlepool were also on the end of arguably the Town’s best result of the season, as Jack Marriott’s brace helped John Still’s side to a 4-1 win in the North East.
. Saturday’s game will see us welcome player’s charity of the year – Happy Days – to Kenilworth Road. The Luton-based charity will be around the ground with collection buckets, so please give generously if you can! More information on Happy Days is available here.
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. Manager Mike Newell also managed both clubs, and guided both the Town and Hartlepool to promotion, while current managers Nathan Jones and Craig Hignett are no strangers to each other. The two crossed paths while among the backroom staff at Championship clubs, with Jones working with Brighton while Hignett operated at Middlesbrough, prior to taking their first managerial posts.
THIS TIME ROUND. Hartlepool currently sit in 22nd place in League 2 on 27 points. Pools started the season on fire, winning their first four matches in all competitions. However, they lost their next four matches, and their form since has been patchy. Hignett’s side’s trip to Kenilworth Road ends a run of four games in succession for Hartlepool, although they were only able to win one of those. But that win against fellow relegation-threatened Yeovil keeps the north east club three points clear of the drop zone before this weekend’s fixtures.
REF WATCH. Andy Davies takes charge on Saturday, his 26th of the season having already shown 97 yellow cards in the campaign so far. The Hampshire man also showed three red cards in five games in the early part of the season, while taking charge of the Hatters’ home clash against Dagenham and Redbridge last term, where Mark Cullen’s hat-trick earned a 3-1 Town victory in October.
LIVE AND ONLINE. As ever, we’ll be reporting live from Kenilworth Road. 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 later in the weekend for all the highlights in glorious HD!