Scout report: How Middlesbrough have helped Hartlepool United ahead of Gateshead clash

Six days after their previous meeting, Hartlepool United will host Gateshead at the Super 6 Stadium - but what should they expect?

Monday, 31st December 2018, 5:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 9:17 am
Luke Armstrong scored twice against Hartlepool on Boxing Day but won't be available this time around.

The Heed claimed a 2-1 win over Pools on Boxing Day but have lost one of their key players since the game at the International Stadium.

In our in detailed scout report, we take a closer look at Pools' next opponents:

What system will Gateshead play?

Steve Watson's side have predominantly played in a 3-5-2 formation this campaign, with Robbie Tickler providing width on the right.

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Captain Scott Barrow has often operated on the opposite flank but missed Gateshead's 1-1 draw with Halifax through injury.

Midfielder Jack Hunter usually drops deep to protect the back three, allowing the side's more creative players to flourish.

Who are Gateshead's key players?

The Heed have the fifth best defensive record in the National League this campaign, after conceding just 24 goals in 26 games.

Mike Williamson, Fraser Kerr and Jonathan Mellish have formed a solid rearguard for Watson's side which will be difficult to breach.

Luke Armstrong is the club's top scorer this campaign but won't be available to face Pools.

The 22-year-old forward netted 11 goals in 18 starts for the Heed but has recently been recalled by parent club Middlesbrough following a loan spell.

Scott Boden is the side's second highest scorer with eight goals this term.

Do Gateshead have any injury worries?

Barrow (hamstring), Greg Olley (ankle), and Aynsley Peers (illness) all missed Gateshead's 1-1 draw with Halifax but could return.

Midfielder Tom White won't feature after he was sent off against Pools on Boxing Day, resulting in a three-match suspension.

Who is Gateshead's manager and what can we expect from them?

A former defender who played for Newcastle, Aston Villa and Everton, Watson replaced Neil Aspin at Gateshead in October 2017.

Watson was previously part of former team-mate Lee Clark's backroom staff at Huddersfield and Birmingham before taking charge at the International Stadium.

The Heed finished 17th last season but have made a much better start to this campaign.

What form have Gateshead been in?

Three consecutive wins over the Christmas period, including a victory over Pools on Boxing Day, helped the Heed consolidate their position in the play-off places.

Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Halifax ended that run, but Watson's men still managed to salvage a point after falling behind.

Gateshead sit 7th in the National League ahead of their second meeting with Pools this season.

The Heed have won 14, drawn four and lost eight in the league this term.

Last six league games: WLWWWD