nPower League 1
Monday 1st April
The Lamex Stadium, Stevenage
Kick Off: 3pm
Weather Forecast: Sunny intervals, 5°c
Referee: C Berry (Surrey)
Last time we met:
Stevenage climbed into the play-off places in early December with a 2-0 win over Hartlepool. Marcus Haber scored the first goal, beating Scott Flinders at the second attempt, after Pools went close through Charlie Wyke and Jordan Richards. After the break Richards was punished for handball in the penalty area and Lucas Akins dispatched the spot kick. The result left Pools 12 points from safety and Boro four points off top spot.
Boro: Arnold, Gray (Rogers), Roberts, N’Gala, Comminges, Tansey, Grant, Dunne, Akins, Freeman (Hills), Haber (Agyemang)
Subs not used: Day, Ball, Risser, Shroot
Stevenage will be without the suspended Miguel Comminges so, as happened at Crawley, David Gray could switch to left-back and James Dunne move to right-back. On-loan Alex Smith could also come into the reckoning but Darius Charles, Gavin Mahon and Greg Tansey are injury doubts.
Hartlepool could be without Anthony Sweeney (hamstring), Evan Horwood (hamstring) and Ritchie Humphreys (calf) through injury with James Poole also a doubt after picking up a knock last week. Midfielder Simon Walton is suspended after being sent off against MK Dons on Friday.
The Hartlepool United Scout Report
Hartlepool currently sit rooted to the bottom of the League 1 table on 33 points, eight points adrift of safety with just five games left to play.
Despite going on a seven game unbeaten run in late January / early February, which saw five wins for Pools, they have struggled for form of late and come into this fixture without a win in seven matches. They’ve picked up points against Colchester (0-0), Yeovil (0-0) and Walsall (0-0) but lost at Doncaster (0-3), Coventry (0-1), Oldham (0-3) and against MK Dons (0-2) in recent weeks.
Pools have three wins, five draws and 12 defeats from 20 games on the road this season, during which they’ve scored just 17 whilst conceding 37. They also suffered heavy cup defeats on the road with a 5-0 loss at Crewe in the Capital One Cup followed in early November with a 6-1 hammering at League Two Chesterfield in the FA Cup.
Possible Hartlepool line-up for Monday (4-4-2 formation)
Scott Finders; Neil Austin, Sam Collins, Peter Hartley, Darren Holden; Luke James, Lewis Hawkins, Jack Baldwin, Jonathan Franks; Charlie Wyke, Andy Monkhouse
Subs: Adam McHugh, Greg Rutherford, Zak Boagey, Josh Rowbotham, Nathan Luscombe
Luke James looks set for bright things after a promising start to his career at Hartlepool. The 18-year old forward, who has been with the club since he was 12, has already played 40 games for Pools and found the back of the net on five occasions, including a screamer on his debut last season aged just 17 years and 64 days. Blessed with great pace and determination, the youngster also picked up the League 1 Apprentice of the Year awards at the 2013 Football League Awards and has been the subject of reported interest from a number of big clubs.