Hartlepool to face familiar foe when Dover visit

Ryan Bird in Pools colours.
Ryan Bird in Pools colours.

Hartlepool United must silence an old foe - and friend - when they look to kick off life in the National League tomorrow.

Pools will come up against former loan striker Ryan Bird, who will lead the Dover line at Victoria Park.

The giant striker, who joined the Kent club in the summer following the end of his spell at Newport County, has found the net twice AGAINST Pools in the last two seasons.

Bird scored for Yeovil against Pools in 2015, though Pools took the points through goals by Scott Fenwick and Brad Walker.

Last season he was brought in by Newport in January and headed in the opening goal a Rodney Parade where Pools foundered 3-1 against County.

Bird ended the campaign with six goals as the Exiles produced a survival act which would relegate Pools.

The 29-year-old has a knack of Great Escape strikes having netted two vital goals on loan at Pools in 2015.

Pools boss Craig Harrison said: “Dover have had quite a change in personnel but the style of play probably won’t change, they are renowned as a physical side.

“They’ve lost their big goalscorer, Ricky Miller, who has joined Peterborough. Dover have replaced him with Bird - I know a bit about him and I’ve had Dover watched two or three times in pre-season.

“But it’s super important, especially when we are playing at the Vic, that it’s about us, how we play, how we set up.

“You have to be mindful and respectful of the opposition and we will be,” he said. “But home or away, we won’t fear any team.

“I’m a professional and I’ll respect every team, whether they are at the top of the league or the bottom. The lads will always know the opposition strengths and weaknesses. Training is geared around that.

“Week to week, training will be tweaked - there will be tactical and technical elements around who we are playing. Whether the lads know it, there will be bits in training that will come out on a Saturday.”