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Match Previews

The Big Match Preview: Hartlepool

17 March 2017

All you need to know ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet League 2 clash at Victoria Park (k.o. 3pm).

Hartlepool United vs Wycombe Wanderers
Saturday 18th March 2017, k.o. 3pm
Victoria Park, TS24 8BZ
Referee: David Webb

A four-game unbeaten streak has restored the foundations for the Chairboys' play-off push - now's the time to stamp their authority in the first of four matches against relegation contenders, starting at Hartlepool on Saturday.

Draws against Blackpool and Plymouth can be viewed as creditable results given the form and strength of their opponents, helping to continue momentum after the draw at Accrington and win at Grimsby which followed a difficult run of losses in February.

But Gareth Ainsworth's men have earned their chance to break into the top seven, having soared into contention over the winter with a sensational run of form which included a 2-0 home win over Hartlepool.

The Monkey Hangers find themselves in 20th place in League 2, while Wycombe's next three opponents - Notts County, Leyton Orient and Cheltenham - are 21st, 24th and 22nd respectively, prompting the bookies to make the Chairboys favourites to win each tie.

But the form guide is often misleading at this stage of the season as clubs towards the bottom summon new belief and strength to climb away from danger, and United have shown signs of doing just that, winning three of their last four outings with new boss Dave Jones beginning to see his methods bearing fruit.

They've stunned play-off chasing Exeter and Cambridge in the past fortnight and will look to do so again when the Blues head north, just as they did last season, ending Wycombe's incredible eight-match winning streak against the Pools with a 1-0 victory in January 2016.

Ainsworth and his men set off on Friday lunchtime, though at the time of writing it wasn't known whether Marcus Bean would make the trip after picking up an injury in the 1-1 draw with Plymouth, while Matt Bloomfield and Paul Hayes are close to returning to the side, but Scott Kashket and Anthony Stewart remain sidelined.

Head-to-head
Wycombe have won nine of the previous 10 encounters, having not picked up a victory in any of the first five.

Pools have four wins to their name in the head-to-head battles, with two draws.

Man in the middle
David Webb was last in charge of a Wycombe match in January, officiating the 2-1 win over Mansfield in the Checkatrade Trophy.

He's only shown one red card in 35 matches in total this season, with 88 yellows.

Tickets
Wanderers fans will be accommodated in the Smith & Graham Away Stand, situated behind one goal, which has maximum capacity of 1,035 seats.

Tickets can be purchased on the day at no extra cost from the ticket office on Clarence Road - please note there are no cash turnstiles.

Prices are as follows.

Adults: £20
Seniors (60+): £10
Students: £10
Under 19s: £10

Pre-booked tickets can be collected from 1.30pm on the day of the game from the main ticket office.

Travel
By Adrian Wood

Postcode: TS24 8BZ

Recommended road directions
Take the M1 north and at J32 take the M18. At J2 pick up the northbound A1(M). Continue northwards on the A1(M) and the A1. Leave the A1(M) at J49 (s/p Thirsk A168, Teeside A19) onto the A168. After 7.3 miles bear north onto the A19 towards Middlesbrough. After 30.3 miles, join the A689 s/p Hartlepool. Continue through Newton Bewley village. Follow ‘Town Centre’ signs for 2.8 miles, over 2 roundabouts. At the traffic lights, just past the Blacksmiths Arms, go straight on. Go straight on at the next lights over the bridge into the new marina complex and straight on again at the roundabout into Marina Way. This is the area for the Jackson’s Wharf parking. For the ground, continue to the next roundabout and turn left (s/p The North A179, A1048). Turn left at the lights into Clarence Road for the ground.

Mileage from High Wycombe = 257

Recommended area for car parking
There is a fair sized car park at the ground (my latest information is that the charge is £8 per car). Otherwise there is some street parking albeit a bit of a distance away, as a residents only parking scheme is in operation on match days around the ground.

Travelling by coach?
OWWSA will be running a coach that will leave Adams Park at 07:30. Travel prices are £31 for adults, £30 for seniors, and £29 for juniors. The price for non-members is £35 (no refund if game is cancelled). If you wish to book by phone (Rena 01494 520179, Graham 07876 267301) or by e-mail (bookings@owwsa.co.uk) you need to do so by Thursday 16th March at 17.00.

Using the train?
Grand Central Railway operates a direct service from London Kings Cross. There is a 08:11 departure that arrives into Hartlepool at 11:23 (There is a later departure at 11.20, scheduled to arrive at 14.23). The return leaves at 17:54 arriving into Kings Cross at 20:57. Hartlepool railway station is a ten minute walk from the ground. Leave the station and at the end of the approach road turn right and head up Church Street. At the end of this road is a bridge and junction with the A689. Go straight across the junction and the ground is in front of you on the left hand side of the road.

Facilities for away fans
The ground capacity is 7,833 (seats 4,180). Away supporters have 1,033 seats in the Smith & Graham 'Rink End' Stand (named after a long-demolished dancehall where many a Hartlepool couple first met) and have modern catering and toilet facilities. Entry is by turnstiles 1 and 2 in Clarence Road. There are a few supporting pillars which may hinder your view. Acoustics are good.

Facilities around the ground
At the ground there is the 'Corner Flag Supporters Bar' (entrance fee 50p) that welcomes away fans. There is also The Victoria Suite near the entrance to the away end that apparently now also admits visiting fans. Popular with away fans is the ‘Jackson's Wharf’ Pub near the ground. This pub is over the road from the ASDA store, to the left of the old sailing ship. Another option is the “Millhouse Inn” on Raby Road. Otherwise the ground is not far from the town centre where there are plenty of pubs to be found.

Can't make it?
Live commentary will be available on Chairboys PlayerHD and the FLi Player app. Alternatively you can follow regular updates on our Twitter account - @wwfcofficial. Also keep an eye on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for more content.

Last time out


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