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Pools Face Premier League Opposition-Preview

Hartlepool United will try to ignite some new form by putting on a good performance against West Bromwich Albion in The Carling Cup

Hartlepool’s heavenly start that saw us thrash Colchester and Scunthorpe has gone sour. In typical Hartlepool fashion, we have played out two games (Tranmere and Stockport) and un-deservedly lost both. In the Tranmere game we outplayed the opposition for a long period of time but failed to capitalise. In the Stockport game we destroyed them for 90 minutes of the game and despite the fourth official signalling 3 minutes of additional time, Stockport scored in the 94th minute. A snatch and grab act all too familiar to Pools fans.

But, tommorow night at Victoria Park will allow the squad to feel no pressure and play with ease. Pools’ fans will relish the oppurtunity of Premier opposition and would hope the players can give them a game. This is my preview,

‘This will be a terrific game for everyone. It could boost our confidence if we get something out of the game’
Danny Wilson, Hartlepool Mail

‘I expect a tough game. Hartlepool have some good individuals. It is not easy to go to Hartlepool and win’
Tony Mowbray- Club Website

Hartlepool United Team News:

Alan Power is expected to replace injured Willie Boland unless Danny Wilson employs Ritchie Jones as a center midfielder and plays David Foley on the wing. Ben Clark remains on the sidelines with a knee injury

Player to watch: Alan Power

If, as expected, Alan Power starts, the 21 year old will be chomping at the bit to perform. The small center midfielder has already displayed his talents in the reserves but with Willie Boland facing a spell on the sidelines, Power must seize his oppurtunity. Danny Wilson should field his strongest side as the Carling Cup can be a valuable experience and can rake in good money if drawn with Premier League opposition.

West Bromwich Albion Team News:

Tony Mowbray has revealed he will rest some of his stars but he isn’t expecting an easy ride from Pools. Mowbray still insists that it will be packed with Premier League quality as he yearns for a selection headache when they visit Bolton on Saturday.
‘It will be a strong side that I hope can win. Hartlepool are a decent side that work extremely hard. It won’t be easy’
Luke Moore is set to start after returning from fitness. It is not clear if new signing Borja Velero, who completed a £4.7 million move from Real Mallorca, will get his debut tonight.
Marek Cech, Carl Hoefkens, Roman Bednar, Craig Beattie, Sherjill MacDonald, Pedro Pele and Dean Kiely could all come into contention to start at Victoria Park.West Brom: Carson, Hoefkens, Barnett, Meite, Robinson, Cech, Morrison, Greening, Brunt, Kim, Miller, MacDonald, Beattie, Bednar, Kiely, Dorrans, Pele, Martis, Moore, Koren, Zuiverloon.Neil Clement, who scored in the 2003 encounter, is ruled out with a knee injury sustained in Pre-Season.

Player to watch: Roman Bednar

Roman Bednar the ex Hearts striker top scored in The Championship last season but has found himself in a striker battle after Tony Mowbray signed a handful of strikers. Tonights game could provide Bednar the stepping stone to bigger and better things in the Premier League. Bednar will look to find some form that he had last season.

Match Facts & Stats

Last six meetings
Season 2003-04
Carling Cup Second Round
Tuesday 23 September 2003
Hartlepool 1 West Brom 2Season 1992-93
Nationwide Division Two
Saturday 20 March 1993
Hartlepool 2 West Brom 2
Nationwide Division Two
Tuesday 3 November 1992
West Brom 3 Hartlepool 1Season 1991-92
Barclays League Division Three
Wednesday 11 March 1992
West Brom 1 Hartlepool 2

Barclays League Division Three
Tuesday 5 November 1991
Hartlepool 0 West Brom 0

Match Prediction:

Hartlepool will enter the game under no pressure due to West Brom’s Premier League status. Hartlepool will need Joel Porter and James Brown on top form as Pools will need a goal early if they are to survive a talented strike force of West Brom. Sam Collins has had an excellent start to League 1 action and could be the key to Pools’ success tonight. If Hartlepool did get something from the game, this would provide some much needed confidence going into Saturday’s game away at Peterborough. West Bromwich Albion are renowned for moving the ball and playing slick football, Hartlepool will need to keep this under wraps in the midfield. West Brom may be too strong but the Carling Cup has played host to a handful of upsets and with Pools on home turf, this game could go either way. Pools 1-0 West Brom

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