Yeovil Town take on Hartlepool United in a League One fixture tomorrow afternoon at Huish Park, with both sides still needing points to keep themselves firmly away from the drop zone. With Yeovil in 13th on 41 points, and their visitors on 15th on 38 points, and only a single goal difference separating the clubs, this is a game that could put Yeovil six points clear of one of their rivals, or could see both teams swapping positions by 5.00p.m. Saturday. There may be a nine point gap between Yeovil and the last relegation position, but they will not want to be complacent, with around 10 points still probably needed to ensure League One football next season.
Back in October 2009, Hartlepool looked like they were going to be one of this season's away day specialists. Three wins, three draws and two defeats from their opening eight away matches was an impressive return, and probably just as well as they were struggling for wins at Victoria Park. On October 31st, they drew away at Brighton and Hove Albion, and thereafter the wheels came off badly - W0 D0 L8 - not a single away point for over four months. Make it nine defeats and they will equal their club record for consecutive away defeats, set in 1985. Just as well then, that their home form also turned around over that period.
Based on that sort of a run, there's little doubt that Yeovil Town will crave all three points. But the Glovers are a somewhat erratic beast this season - getting in two solid 1-0 victories against MK Dons and Walsall at the tail end of last month, but then looking a world away from League leaders Norwich City in a one-sided 3-0 defeat last Saturday. Normally at home the Glovers look more comfortable, although even there they have wobbled slightly with one win and two defeats in their last four.
They go into the game boosted by the return of the hugely popular Gavin Williams - back on loan from Bristol City for a second spell with the Glovers. There seems little doubt that he will start the match, just leaving the question of which loan player will drop out of the matchday squad, with once again the Glovers back with six loans on their books. Arron Davies and Ryan Mason are probably the two with most to be worried about, given that they occupy similar positions and roles to Williams.
Up front, the main question mark will be whether striker Dean Bowditch has recovered from a hamstring injury sustained two weeks ago. Central defender Stefan Stam remains the only definite absentee - expected to be absent for the remainder of the season. The back four therefore virtually picks itself with Alcock, Caulker, Forbes and Smith near certainties to start along with goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
For Hartlepool, they suffered a significant blow this week when striker Denis Behan was stretchered off in a Reserve Team match against Rotherham United in midweek. He is likely to be out for six weeks, and there are fears his season may be over. Ben Clark is available though, after completing a three match ban.
Hartlepool's official site has a bit of a cheeky moment today, suggesting that their supporters should bet on midfielder Ritchie Jones to score the opening goal against his old club, with him rated at 18/1. Slightly more likely is striker Roy O'Donovan, who is on loan from Sunderland and bagged all three goals in their 3-0 win over Southend United last weekend. Top scorer this season is Adam Boyd with nine goals, with Andy Monkhouse one strike behind. The aforementioned Jones has four to his name.
The December meeting between the two clubs at Victoria Park saw the points shared in a 1-1 draw as Sam Williams and Andy Monkhouse netted in each half. The last meeting at Huish Park was in April 2009, and saw Hartlepool grab all three points in a 2-3 away win, with Gavin Tomlin and Andros Townsend netting for Yeovil. But it was their inability to cope with striker Joel Porter that undid them as he netted two, followed by a winning goal from Daniel Nardiello, 18 minutes from time.
The game kicks off at 3.00p.m. with tickets available on the day of the game, subject to the usual matchday surcharge. For pre-matchday prices, call or visit the Huish Park Ticket Office before 6.00p.m. tonight on 09135-847888.
Don't forget that this is a Kids for a Quid match. Any supporter aged under 16 can gain admission for one pound only, with no conditions or limits to this offer attached. The offer will still be in place on the day of the match itself.
Link: Officials For Yeovil Town vs Hartlepool United.
Link: Hartlepool United : Kids For A Quid Offer.
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