The Suit Direct Stadium is the venue for a pivotal game in the League Two relegation battle as Hartlepool are set to host Crawley Town on Saturday afternoon.
After going eight games undefeated under their new manager John Askey, Hartlepool have now lost two on the bounce and find themselves in the danger zone once again. The Pools find themselves in 23rd place in the table and are currently three points behind Crawley, with a slightly worse goal difference.
In the ten games since Askey's appointment, Hartlepool have won two, drawn six, and lost two, with their two wins coming against Swindon and Grimsby. If it were not for Crawley also experiencing an upturn in form, Hartlepool would be safely above the relegation zone.
Last Weekend, Hartlepool travelled to Rodney Parade to face a Newport side who have been inconsistent throughout this season. First-half goals from Omar Bogle and Mickey Demetriou provided Newport with an unassailable advantage as the Pools failed to score in a game for the first time under Askey.
Hartlepool recorded a defeat similar in nature on Tuesday evening as they were defeated by promotion-chasing Salford City. Once again two first-half goals were the difference between the sides as Hartlepool failed to score away from home in consecutive league games.
Crawley are currently sitting in 22nd place in the League Two table and are just three points above Hartlepool. If Crawley were to lose by two or more goals, they could find themselves in the relegation zone with just two games left in their campaign.
Scott Lindsey’s side come into this weekend on the back of a good run of form which has seen them record just two defeats in their last ten league outings. This run has included impressive victories over sides such as Tranmere, Harrogate, and Wimbledon.
Crawley were in action on Tuesday evening as they hosted struggling Colchester. Neither side could break the deadlock in a game of few chances, where the Reds recorded just one shot on target.
Hartlepool have a good record in this fixture’s recent history and have won three on the bounce. In all these games, Crawley failed to score and Hartlepool will be hoping to keep another vital clean sheet this weekend.
The Pools recorded a vital three points when these sides met in the reverse fixture in December. A second-half goal from Rollin Menayese and an own goal from Travis Johnson handed Hartlepool a deserved victory at Crawley. This was only Pools' third league win of the season and their first away from home for nearly nine months.
These sides are fairly evenly matched at the bookies ahead of this matchup, however, it is Hartlepool who are favoured and are currently priced @ 6/5, whilst an away win for Crawley is priced @ 2/1 and a draw is @ 12/5.
We are backing Hartlepool to win and BTTS because of their superior recent form in this fixture, paired with the home advantage that the Hartlepool fans will provide. The Pools have not lost any of their five home games under John Askey, where they have recorded impressive draws against Leyton Orient, Northampton, and Stevenage and a victory over Swindon.