Hartlepool United v Aldershot Town Match Preview – Saturday 29th September 2018
Aldershot Town missed a golden opportunity to put back-to-back wins together for the first time this season on Tuesday evening, dominating throughout, but ultimately slipping to a 1-0 defeat at the EBB Stadium at the hands of lowly Maidstone United. On Saturday, they hit the road north, looking to bring to an end, a club record run of six consecutive away defeats. Victoria Park, home of eighth placed and rejuvenated Hartlepool United, is their destination. BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall previews the game.
Shots boss Gary Waddock may find himself in the unusual position of having three goalkeepers to choose from on Saturday, as Hull City loanee Will Mannion is back in training following a five-week absence due to a muscle injury. Top scorer Scott Rendell is close to a return following a hamstring strain and may well be named in the squad that travels to the North East. Skipper Karleigh Osborne came off in the first half on Tuesday evening and whilst his injury does not appear to be as serious as first feared, he is unlikely to be available at the weekend. Shamir Fenelon and Marvin McCoy were not involved in midweek, but the latter is now available again.
Name: Hartlepool United
Manager: Matthew Bates
Stadium: Victoria Park
2017/18 National League position: 15th
2018/19 Current position: 8th
Initially formed in 1908, from a successful Amateur Cup winning team, Hartlepool United joined the Football League in 1921 and until 2017, spent their entire existence in the lower two divisions.
After a successful spell in caretaker charge at the back end of last season, Matthew Bates was appointed first team manager in May 2018. He worked under previous manager Craig Harrison in the role of First Team Coach before taking charge following Harrison’s departure and guiding Pools to safety.
Bates let five players go in the summer, including left back Blair Adams, who scored from long distance against Shots at The EBB Stadium last season. He also lost defender Liam Donnelly, to Motherwell and striker Devante Rodney decided to join newly-promoted Salford City.
Twelve players stayed at Victoria Park, although four of them were transfer-listed. Those continuing with or earning new contracts included; highly regarded goalkeeper Scott Loach, club captain Carl Magnay, plus midfielders Michael Woods (top scorer last season with 11 goals) and Nicky Featherstone, who has already scored three goals this season. Bates added ten players to his ranks – most notably, former Forest Green Rovers midfielder Liam Noble who is the club’s top scorer this season, with six goals to date. They also paid an undisclosed fee for young striker Niko Muir, who scored an impressive 40 goals for Hendon last season. Other new arrivals this season include; full backs Peter Kioso (Dunstable) and Mark Kitching (Rochdale) plus Gateshead midfielder Paddy McLaughlin.
Saturday’s referee is Martin Woods and this will be his sixth National League game. So far he has shown 10 Yellow cards and 0 Red cards. This is his first season at National League level.
BBC Surrey Sports Rob Worrall and a special guest will be covering the game live on Saturday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66.