August is over. Autumn is here. It’s nearly Christmas. And it’s now time for the League Two season to hit its stride in earnest. The campaign to date, from a Stevenage perspective, has been pretty forgettable. The end of the summer 2016 transfer window earlier this week means all the cards have been dealt and it’s time to see what each club holds in their hand. The hope is that Darren Sarll has pulled an ace or two from up his sleeve, rather than Mr Bun The Baker. And then it’s about sitting tight as our rivals reveal in turn what they’ve got…
First up to show their hand at our big green metaphorical poker table are Hartlepool United. It’s a little bit of a milestone as far as us and them are concerned because this is our 10th meeting. And, as you can work out, that puts us well on the way to a ton. All in good time, however, as we throw open the doors of the Lamex for a side currently loitering in mid-table. But, when a victory and a numerical nightmare above can lift us into the top 10, does it count for ‘owt? Well, yes, because the fact is Pools made it to this point only losing one match so far.
Stevenage v Hartlepool United: Pool Sample
Like Crewe earlier this term, our opponents come to the Lamex not knowing what it feels like to triumph over a Boro’ side. Unlike Crewe earlier this term, Hartlepool are not last season’s cast-offs from League One. You got to take what you can when you’re in a rough patch, and that’s all we got. To let in four at home to Stoke is unfortunate, but five at Grimsby is down right morbid. And that’s not counting another three at Orient, with that midweek Football League Trophy outing that made a behind-closed-doors friendly look well-attended.
The Pools solo win this term came at Sid James Park and against one of the only two sides still below us right now: Exeter City. In comparison, their one loss was against a team that overreached themselves to get a point against us: Notts County. What have you learned here? Nothing. Them the early-season stats, though. As stupid as it may be, our only win so far came against a side sitting second in the division. And Ipswich, if you’re counting cup games. Which you shouldn’t, by the way. You don’t get a point for that sort of thing. Unfortunately.
Now then, still riddled with international call-ups are we? Who makes your team for the visit of Hartlepool. If Tyler Walker is half as good as the four Twitter users we noted think he is, then he starts. And why not? Scoring hasn’t been our forte so we don’t have much to lose there. Fraser Franks has scored two in two to become our joint top goalscorer – and even he can’t be sure of a spot in this week’s starting XI if Wilko’s fit and Sarll decides our new left-back should, on balance, play. Big calls to make, but who makes the cut for you this week?
Stevenage v Hartlepool United. Warning – here’s some graphic content! League Two stats from Kick Off:
BoroGuide’s Hartlepool United club profile – it’s the girl all the bad guys want…