This is going to be a close call.

Getting a bloody ramble out before kick-off, that is – although clearly an away game for us against bottom of the league may well end up being a tight contest, too.

How are they getting on?

Losing, pretty much incessantly. They’re 6 points adrift at the bottom of the league, having won only one game all season, which oddly enough was against our previous nemesises Scunthorpe on 1 September. Otherwise known as 14 games ago.

They’ve got the worst goal difference in the league, helped in no small part by also having scored the least alongside Leyton Orient’s 13.

However, they’ve just brought in a new manager. Livingston’s John Hughes has taken up the challenge of getting Hartlepool out of this mess. He’s been having a fairly uninspiring season so far, and leaves Livingston in 5th place of the Scottish first division. They have just gone five games unbeaten though, so he may still hold some momentum from that (if that is in any way even possible for a manager).

New manager syndrome is something we need to be wary of, everyone. In reality, it’s there because football wants it to be there and its effects are actually pretty sporadic. But nobody wants to be caught out because they didn’t at least acknowledge the positive impact in can have on a team.

Who could cause us trouble?

Aside from ourselves, and the general swell of good feeling that a new boss may bring, their players haven’t really been having a great time of it. Their top scorer is Jonathan Franks with 2 goals – that’s the same amount as Carl Baker.

I was going to give mention to Steve Howard but it turns out he’s suspended for five bookings, so I won’t.

However, Striker James Poole came close on a few occasions in the previous game against Yeovil, and they’ve also got Sunderland goal-scoring machine Ryan Noble on loan until the beginning of December, although his availability is a bit of  a mystery as he wasn’t in the squad against Yeovil.

As ever, it’s an opportunity for players to step up and show what they can do in this new era for the club.

Sky Blues team news

Hot off the press, we’ve just this morning brought in yet another left back in the form of Sunderland’s Blair Adams. Quite why we feel the need to use another loan up to fill our most over-subscribed position, I’m not sure, but it can only be seen as comment on the abilities of the others currently available to him. Either way, I don’t think Robins is the kind of guy who could care less about making that comment, and will probably shove him straight in.

Nobody played particularly well last weekend, and one player who may find himself back on the bench is Cody McDonald as he struggled to make an impact. I don’t think he should be, but unfortunately that’s the nature of his position. Your influence has to be immediately noticeable, or someone else will get a go.

The fight for right-back supremacy continues, and I think we’re likely to see Jordan Clarke stomp his way back into the team for this one, given Robins’ apparent penchant for him. He didn’t have the greatest of times against Carlisle, but I just get the impression that given a straight choice between him and Christie, Robins’ll go for Jordinho every time.

Prediction

I think they’re likely to be all excitable with their new manager, and will grab a couple of goals. However, I think we might do the same.

With this squad of ours, we should win and it’s ridiculous that we’re still not into any sort of a rhythm yet. But on this occasion, I’m going for a 2-2 draw.

Image of Victoria Park licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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