Have you been injured in an accident at work that wasn’t your fault? It won’t surprise us if Graham Westley has spent the whole week on the blower to Ambulance Chasers 4U making some claims on behalf of them guys who have transformed Paul Dando’s physio room from an oasis of tranquility (probably) into the most over-populated patch of land outside downtown Tokyo.
It now sounds like Darius Charles has added his name to our ever-expanding list of absentees and means that, with the midfield and attacking ranks already low in numbers, the back line has come to the party too. And when we say party, we don’t mean the Skittles and Smarties type – no, we mean that godawful ravey type that’s still going on downstairs at 3am on a Tuesday night.
Hartlepool United is our next port of call and the chances are we’ll be heading up in an ambulance to kill two birds with the one stone. And we bet that stone will somehow find its way from bumping off those birds into Chris Day’s right hand or something. The team picks itself – the only 11 fit players, three youth teamers and two members of the Supporters Advisory Board.
Since we first met on the opening day of the season, Hartlepool United have been busy preparing for life in the Conference and making the occasional effort to suggest otherwise; a 1-0 win against Northampton on Tuesday your most recent example. Their home form, however and somewhat incredibly, isn’t the worst in the division and they’re actually on a three-game winning run.
With all the hits we’ve taken to our squad in the past few weeks, it’s not crazy to think that Hartlepool see this as a chance to get a fourth straight home win under their collective belts. But we can go there knowing that the Monkey Hangers haven’t kept their sheets clean in two-thirds of outings on their own patch – even if we’ve failed to score in nearly half our games on the road.
And if you’re someone who believes in the power of previous meetings, then we can take heart from the fact we haven’t let them score against us for the best part of 500 minutes. Our last three visits to Hartlepool have thrown up two wins and a draw, though one of those wins was in the FA Cup if you’re precious about that type of information. But a happy hunting ground all the same?
We had this one lined up on FIFA 15, prepared even to make all three subs in the first minute to take out our sicknotes. But the servers are so far behind that we had to leave one of Zola, Okimo, Parrett and Charles on – and we thought that just wouldn’t cut the mustard so binned it off in favour of 20 minutes on Theme Hospital.
All things considered, it’s a surprise to see Boro’ as short as 13/8 (BetVictor) to win the game at Hartlepool United when you can get a hefty 2/1 (Boylesports) on the hosts. Under 2.5 Goals is the most likely outcome in the over/under market and 13/18 (Bwin) is the best we’ve found on that front. Ben Kennedy is 6/1 to net at some point during the game, with BoroGuide not priced. Yet.
The number of players out injured is now comfortably above the combined number of points earned and goals scored since York, with Bragbury End starting to look like the outpatients department of Holby General Hospital. Hartlepool wouldn’t have concerned us this time last month, but – now – we’ll be ruddy happy if everyone is walking unassisted at the end of this weekend’s encounter.
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