Saturday 25th February 2012 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Bottom of League Two Wycombe Wanderers take on mid-table Hartlepool United as they look to halt a run of three straight league defeats to lift them off the bottom of the table.
Wycombe have won just once in their last five league matches with losses to Brentford, Sheffield United, Yeovil Town and relegation rivals Walsall, while their rare win was at home to Tranmere Rovers winning 2-1 against a side who have lost 10 away matches so far.
The Chairboys’ home record stands at 5-2-9 21/28, and they have recorded some recent wins over their relegation counterparts; 3-2 v Chesterfield, 3-1 against Exeter City, 3-0 over Rochdale and the Tranmere result. However, these wins have been against the teams around them in the league and they have not performed so well against mid-to-upper half teams.
For example losses to Brentford, Bury and Preston emphasise this and another loss could well be winging it’s way to High Wycombe this weekend. Midfielder Stuart Beavon (9 goals, 3 assists) leads the way for their goals, along with former QPR midfielder Gareth Ainsworth (2 goals, 4 assists), Joel Grant and Ben Strevens (3 goals apiece).
Wycombe have had the upper hand in their two previous meetings with Hartlepool but I think the pendulum has swung in the north-east outfit’s favour based on current form. Wycombe also have the worst defensive record in League Two in terms of goals conceded.
Hartlepool United currently sit mid-table and are seven points adrift of Stevenage who occupy 6th place, so a win today could edge them closer to the play-off zone. Their away record stands at 6-5-4 22/21, and despite losses at promotion-chasing Sheffield United and a loss at Preston, they’ve also gained points at Exeter City and United’s play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday, along with wins at Oldham Athletic and Scnthorpe United.
Pools also have a number of attacking outlets such as James Poole, Anthony Sweeney, Adam Boyd (5 goals each) along with Andy Monkhouse (3 goals, 4 assists) and Evan Horwood (6 assists) providing the opportunities.
Wycombe have been poor of late while Hartlepool will be looking to build on their recent 3-0 win over Notts County, so I’ll back the visitors with the handicap again at a pretty good price. 2-1 to Hartlepool.
Main Pick: Hartlepool United AH0 @ 1.91 William Hill
Value Pick: Hartlepool United straight win @ 2.62 Ladbrokes