Hartlepool United v Harrogate Town: Everything you need to know about Pools
Harrogate Town visit Hartlepool United this evening (Tuesday), looking to build upon their positive start to life in the National League.
Simon Weaver’s men took a point from their opening-day clash with Sutton United and will head into their first away fixture in English football’s fifth tier in confident mood.
Yet, the Wetherby Road outfit face a side who were only relegated from League Two in 2017, having been members of the Football League since first being admitted in 1921.
After a slow start that saw them go six games without a win, Pools finished mid-table last term – a difficult season for the club both on and off the pitch during which they had to contend with the prospect of liquidation until current owner Raj Singh completed a takeover at Victoria Park.
They are however targeting promotion this time around and have strengthened their squad by recruiting the likes of former Middlesbrough defender Andrew Davies and midfielder Liam Noble, latterly of Notts County.
“Last season seems a million miles away, it’s a different club,” manager Matthew Bates told the Hartlepool Mail, reflecting on a summer of transformation.
“I took over in dire straits and now we are all looking forward.
“Success would mean challenging up there and if we are in with a shout of the play-off places then it’s been a very good season.”
Last season: 15th in the National League.
Last time out: Got their 2018/19 campaign underway with a 1-1 draw on the road at Maidstone United.
Previous meeting: Town and Pools have never met before in a competitive fixture, but they did face-off in a pre-season friendly as recently as July 2017.
Dominic Knowles and George Thomson registered to put Harrogate 2-0 up at the CNG Stadium before Nicky Deverdics pulled a goal back late on.
Ones to watch: Sunderland academy graduate Liam Noble impressed in Pools’ season-opener at Maidstone, pulling the strings in midfield and also netting their equalising goal.
Ex-Town man Michael Woods was United’s top-scorer last season, striking 11 times from midfield, and will no doubt be looking to make an impression against one of his former clubs.
Any other business: In May 2002, United’s mascot H’Angus the Monkey was elected mayor of Hartlepool.
His key vote-winning slogan during a successful election campaign was “free bananas for schoolchildren”.
Kick off at Victoria Park is at 7.45pm. Follow @HarrogateSport on Twitter for live updates and post-match reaction.