Pools look to pick up the momentum gained against leeds United after enforced 2 week break.
Home Team Focus:
Hartlepool United will play their first game in two week when Huddersfield visit Vicotria Park on Saturday. With such a large gap between games Chris Turner and his players can have no excuses when it comes to preparation for this game. Although a two-week gap was the last thing Turner or his players would have wanted, after an impressive performance against Leeds United. That saw Hartlepool earn a vital point against one of the front-runners for the League 1 title. Everyone connected with Hartlepool, staff, players and fans a like, will be hoping that the draw against Leeds was the turning point in their season and will put an end to what can only be described and an appalling run of form. However with Pools only 2 points clear of the drop the heat is still very much on as the pressure to pick up points grows with every game. Chris Turner has been emphasising over the last week that Hartlepool have to keep the moment going despite an enforced break.
“We’ve just got to keep things going from the last three or four games to keep it ticking over and maintaining that belief. It gives us chance to clear up one or two knocks and a give breather to players who’ve played every game this season. But we’re not giving the players any extra days off. We’re working like a normal week because we don’t want to get into holiday mood. I want to be training like we normally are and on Monday morning we’ll start looking at Huddersfield Town”. Chris Turner (HUFC)
Away Team Focus:
Huddersfield Town will be in good spirits when they make the short trip to Hartlepool. This will be the Terries 6th game in 3 weeks, although manager Lee Clark will want the games to keep coming as his side look to make it 8 games without defeat. Town kept up their impressive form despite two tricky games in a week. A hard earn point at home to Swindon was followed by a brilliant away performance against in-form Carlisle. Although Huddersfield currently sit just outside the play-offs in 7th place they are still well in the hunt for promotion as only 9 points separates 3rd from 7th. After the Carlisle game, Clark was asked if he would be adopting a similar approach to Saturday`s game against Hartlpeool.
‘Well, I hope it is a similar performance from us, particularly attacking wise. But I fully expect a tough game up at Hartlepool, they came to the Galpharm and give us a right good game, when we where going through a really good patch. So we know it`s going to be tough, its never easy there. We will start preparing for that immediately, the players will be prepared so it`s all about who is up for the fight.’ Lee Clark (Huddersfield Town)
Hartlepool Team News:
For the first time since mid October, Chris Turner has a fully fit squad to choose from. Although both Neil Austin (4) and Andy Monkhouse (9) are both 1 more yellow card away from a 1 and 2 match ban respectively. James Brown is hoping to make the bench for the visit of Huddersfield as he made a scoring return to football with a brace against Scunthorpe Reserves. Colin Larkin has shaken of a hamstring problem and came through the same game without any additional problems. Turner has two major decisions to make for the weekends game. Will he stick with the 4-5-1 system he has used over the last 5 games? And Will he reinstate Ritchie Jones to the starting 11 after his impressive performance from the bench against Leeds United
Player to watch: Ritchie Jones
Jones has been in and out of the side all season and has often been played out of position. Many Pools fans found it hard to believe that he has not been a regular starter in the 4-5-1 formation. His ability to control the game and create from midfield is something Pools have missed in recent weeks.
Huddersfield Team News:
Lee Clark also has a fully fit and available squad for the game at Hartlepool. A remarkable achievement considering their recent fixture pile-up. It would be easy to presume Clark would stick with the same 11 that won at Carlisle but there are several players knocking on the managers door after the Huddersfield Reserves smashed Rotherham 6-0 mid-week, with 3 goals coming from Robbie Simpson. Clark will also have to decide if new loan signing Taser Hassan makes the squad after his deal was during the week.
Player to watch: Jordan Rhodes
Jordan Rhodes has already played for 4 other clubs, even though he is still only 19. During the 2007-2009 he was loaned out 3 times by parent club Ipswich, before being sold to Huddersfield. Since then, he has has certainly found his feet at during his first season with the Terriers Scoring 16 goals and 9 assists in just 31 games and has been involved in 1/3rd of all of Huddersfields goals. The Hartlepool defence will have to be on their toes, if they want to keep up with Rhodes.
Match Facts & Stats
An impressive 32 players have worn the jerseys of both teams including, Chris beech, mark Cooper, Paul Dalton and current Newcastle number 1 Steve Harper. There has been 25 league meetings between the two sides, 12 at Victoria Park. From those 12 Hartlpeool have won 6, drawn 3 and lost 3. Two goals from Adam Boyd could see him go into the history books as joint top scorer in this fixture with Billy Ayre, with four goals. Hartlepool have won the last 4 consecutive games against Huddersfield at The Vic, with the last game ending 5-3.
Hartlepool United 1 – 2 Huddersfield Town
If Hartlepool can maintain a hi tempo over the 90 minutes then they might be able to get something from this game, as Huddersfield look to play their 6th game in 3 weeks. However Lee Clarke has built a resilient team that rarely drops all 3 points and are currently unbeaten in 7 games.
The 3rd straight home game sees the return of Matty Robson to Victoria Park, as Hartlepool take on a buoyant Carlisle United.