Date:Friday December 14 2007
It's to the land of the living dead this weekend. No win in four games means it's vital we start picking up points if we don't want our season to be over before we're even in 2008.
Hartlepool will host the Alex in the league for the first time since 1995/1996. It's not a lot different to then but our fortunes between now and then couldn't be further apart. Whilst we went to enjoy (and whinge about) nine seasons in the Championship, Hartlepool hung around League Two, making the play-offs on no less than three occasions in that league.
They won promotion to League One in 2003 and went onto two failed play-off campaigns. They couldn't quite carry on with the momentum and in 2006 dropped through the trap door back into League Two. However, a successful season back in League Two saw them bounce straight back up at the first attempt last season.
This season they sit one place above us on goal difference in 12th place. Their home record is fairly good with only two defeats on their own turf.
Neil Baker told the official site:
'We have worked on it and now we will look at the selection of the team to give us the best chance of winning at Hartlepool. We always approach each game looking to win, but we have only won the one away, so we know we have to improve on that.
'This happened to us last season and then we got a result at Carlisle and enjoyed a bit of a run. We want that to happen again.'
Hartlepool have a slight injury crisis. Tony Sweeney, Joel Porter, Andy Monkhouse and Jamie McCunnie all complain of knee injuries, Ben Clark has a hamstring problem, whilst Richie Humphries has severe bruising on his foot.
Barker has been in hot form this season with 9 goals to his name already. The striker will pose a problems, even at the age of 32.
Gary Roberts and Chris McCready are both big doubts with an illness. Eugen Bopp has a foot injury. George Abbey, Steven Schumacher and Lee Barnard are all beginning their return in training but will not be ready for Saturday. Loanees Cedric Baseya and David Gray have been sent back to their clubs after picking up injuries. Ryan Lowe could be back in the side after pulling out late for the Walsall game.
Possible 11: Ben Williams, Gary Roberts, Danny Woodards, Julien Baudet, Billy Jones, Elliott Bennett, Neil Cox, Ben Rix, Byron Moore, Nicky Maynard, Simon Church.
Will the speculation unsettle Woodards?
Crewe and Hartlepool have played each other 126 times. Cree have come out on top, winning 59 over Hartlepool's 44. There have also been 23 draws between the sides.
Hartlepool 2-0 Crewe... Not that confident!
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Date:Friday December 14 2007
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