Football – England – League One
Wednesday 7th November 2012 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Hartlepool United, rock bottom of League One, face a tough assignment when they take on joint leaders of League One, Tranmere Rovers at their Victoria Park ground on Wednesday night.
Hartlepool have endured a wretched run of form of late having gone 14 matches without a win including most recently, a 1-6 spanking at the hands of League Two Chesterfield in the first round of the FA Cup on Saturday. I’m sure this fixture with Tranmere is the last team they’ll want to be facing following that weekend defeat, and it’ll be interesting to see how they cope with the league leaders.
Pool’s home record stands at an unremarkable 1-3-3 7/8, and it’s five matches without a win at Victoria Park as they’ve lost to Carlisle United, Sheffield United and Crawley Town and they’ve taken just 3 points from the last 15 on offer thanks to points against Swindon Town, Shrewsbury Town and Doncaster Rovers.
A lack of goals has certainly hindered the north-east club with only midfielder Jonathan Franks (2 goals) achieving more than 1 goal for the club so far. Evan Horwood (3 assists) has produced the bulk of the creativity so far, but Tranmere will also need to keep an eye on midfielder Anthony Sweeney and veteran striker Steve Howard.
Visitors Tranmere Rovers have actually wobbled in recent matches following their blistering start to the season; losses against Bournemouth and Doncaster Rovers along with a home draw against Preston North End have given Sheffield United a chance to close the gap on them at the top of League One, an invitation that they’ve gratefully accepted.
A trip to bottom club Hartlepool then represents a ‘must-win’ tag for them and I expect them to turn around their recent fortunes. Rovers’ away record stands at 4-2-1 14/7 which still remains a strong record and have recorded wins at Crawley Town 5-2, Scnthorpe United 3-1 and Notts County 1-0 in recent road trips.
One thing (amongst many) in Tranmere’s favour though here is that they didn’t play at the weekend as their tie with Braintree Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, when many other teams were involved in Cup action, and this means they’ll be fresh and raring to go. Leading scorer is Jake Cassidy (10 goals, 2 assists) and he’s scored 7 goals in his last 10 matches. Also in their armoury are Akpa-Akpro and Robinson who manager Ronnie Moore will be hoping returns for this match.
Following their recent mini dip in form, three points here is a must for the visitors and I’ll back them tonight to bounce back with a much-needed win against the basement club. Perhaps a 1-0 win for Tranmere Rovers.
Pick: Tranmere Rovers straight win @ 2.15 Bet Victor looks good value