FIVE talking points ahead of Hartlepool United's clash with Wrexham

Games don't come much bigger than this.

Friday, 19th January 2018, 10:00 am
Pools fans at Victoria Park
Pools fans at Victoria Park

A packed house, careers on the line, the pride of a town at stake.

Hartlepool United take on Wrexham with much more on the agenda than three points - the future of the football club itself is on the line.

But what are the talking points ahead of the clash? Here we take a look at one or two...

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What kit will Pools wear?

Will Hartlepool wear their famous blue and white or will they be forced into their away kit, last seen at Dagenham? It’s the question on everyone’s lips after laundry-gate.

Pools kit, and a whole host of other equipment, including club towels, etc, is being held hostage.

Will it return in time? We’ll find out around 2pm tomorrow.

Who replaces Jonathan Franks?

News of no new deal for Franks was a real blow to Craig Harrison’s January plans.

But, in truth, the manager has known since November that he could not add to his ranks, unless circumstances off the field changed.

They haven’t, and as things stand Franks deal is up.

When Pools were flying he was the man who drove them on. His goals helped wrack points up in Autumn, that could prove invaluable come the Spring.
Sadly though, at the moment, it looks like Franks will be plying his trade elsewhere by the time the warmer weather reaches the Vic.

Who comes in to replace him?

It might be the case Rhys Oates and Devante Rodney get a run wide.It is also an option to throw in Nicky Deverdics further up the park.

Of course, Blair Adams may again come into the reckoning despite his poor show at Dagenham.

How do you fill a Keith Watson-sized hole?

Another one bites the dust. It was good while it lasted.

Probably the best signing of the manager’s summer was Keith Watson on a temporary deal from St Johnstone.

Not only has he contributed at the back, with his solid, physical presence and ability on the ball proving invaluable, but he has also chipped in with three goals.

He will be some loss this season. But you never know he might be back, although that looks unlikely. And in his absence someone might step up to the plate.

This is the perfect opportunity for Liam Donnelly to finally make the centre of defence his own.

And Michael Ledger has from now until the end of the season to prove he was a deal worth doing.

He’s only managed to back up his hype with one or two flashes so far.

Can the players deal with the pressure?

It’s not happened much of late but Victoria Park will be packed to the rafters on Saturday.

And with the North East footballing world uniting together to aid Pools’ cause, the atmosphere will no doubt be electric.

But how will the players deal with that?

Some may go into their shell, as it is a step into the unknown for many.

Hopefully it has the opposite reaction, and relights a fire in them. Surely this is what they became professional footballers for?

Will the gate receipts, money raised stave off threat of administration?

Put simply, no. But it all helps.

Pools now, with guaranteed cash coming into the coffers, have enough to cover their wage bill for the month.

The rest, including a hefty HMRC bill, and a whole host of others are unlikely to be covered by gate cash alone.

While this weekend will be a step in the right direction, it is not the end goal. The battle for survival goes on.