Hartlepool v Pompey: the opposition view
It was a very promising start under Craig Hignett for Pools.
They won three away games early on, but drew a lot of the home games - and that’s what hindered them.
But it was around December time when the proverbial really hit the fan and the players weren’t being paid on time.
I wouldn’t say they downed tools, because they aren’t those kind of players, but I think the whole issue had an effect.
Come January Hignett got the sack and replaced him with Dave Jones, who is sure to get a rousing reception from the travelling Pompey fans...
Under Jones the home form has been very good, but the away form is the worst in League Two.
There was a recent 1-0 win at Cambridge and they should have really got something last week against in-form Blackpool, but were undone by a fluke goal.
But the home form now has definitely been keeping them going.
Jones has come in and done okay so far. Performances have improved.
He’s done relatively well at every club he’s been at and, on paper, is the best manager Pools has ever had.
Chris Turner was probably one of the best, but Jones’ CV is above anyone who’s gone before him.
Fans are hoping a man of his calibre will be able to transform the club.
There is certainly the hope they’ve now got the right man in charge of the team.
The attacking players have picked up a few goals this season.
Padraig Amond has got 13 with both Nathan Thomas and Lewis Alessandra on nine.
The one who’s going well at the minute is Alessandra.
He came on when there was an injury against Luton in February and he‘s been a player transformed.
He’s in good nick going into the game and is probably the one to watch at the moment.
Amond has got the goals, too, and has gone along steadily throughout the season.
It will more than likely be a similar team to who played at Blackpool.
Jones has only got a small squad at his disposal and there aren’t a great deal of options.
A couple of the senior players are out with long-term injuries to compound that issue, too.
Jones has gone with a 4-3-3 which is probably more of a 4-5-1 at times.
Midfielder Rhys Oates is the only one who could be back in contention after missing the past two games.
But the team actually played very well against Blackpool so there’s every chance Jones will stick with them.