Scout report: Why Hartlepool must take advantage of Aldershot's play-off hangover

Hartlepool United lost for the first time in nine games on Tuesday night - but Matthew Bates' side have no time to feel sorry for themselves.

Friday, 28th September 2018, 11:05 am
Updated Sunday, 30th September 2018, 10:22 am
Aldershot manager Gary Waddock during his time at Wycombe.

It's a quick turnaround for Pools, who host struggling Aldershot tomorrow afternoon - but what should we expect from tomorrow's visitors?

The Shots have recorded back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the National League, before losing in the play-offs on both occasions.

And Gary Waddock's side have suffered something of a hangover this campaign, winning just four of their first 13 league games.

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We take a closer look at how the Shots are shaping up ahead of the game at the Super 6 Stadium.

What system will Aldershot play?

Waddock has tinkered with a 4-4-2 formation at times this campaign but appears to have settled on a 4-2-3-1 system.

The Shots manager named an unchanged starting XI before his team were beaten 1-0 at home by Maidstone United on Tuesday night.

Midfielder Adam May was deployed just behind striker Matt McClure, and provides a goal threat with his late runs into the box.

Who are Aldershot's key players?

Scott Rendell is the club's top scorer with four goals this campaign, but the 31-year-old striker has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury.

Aldershot recruited several new players in the summer, with many arriving from higher divisions.

Left-back Dominic Bernard has started every league game after signing on loan from Birmingham, while winger Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong has also played regularly this season after being released by Crystal Palace.

Behind them, former Millwall defender and club captain Karleigh Osborne is key at the back.

Do Aldershot have any injury worries?Waddock will have to decide whether to risk Rendell, with reports suggesting the forward is close to a return.

Osborne could also miss the game, after the defender was forced off with an injury during the first half on Tuesday.

Shamir Fenelon and Marvin McCoy have been sidelined in the past few weeks and will be assessed ahead of the game.

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

A former Republic of Ireland international, Waddock was first appointed Aldershot manager in 2007.

In his first season, Waddock led the club into the Football League with a then-record points total of 101 to win the Blue Square Premier title.

He returned to Aldershot in 2016, following spells at Wycombe and Oxford, but has just missed out on promotion in the last two seasons.

Waddock likes his side to get the ball down and play when possible, and last season Sutton United manager Paul Doswell described the Shots as "the best footballing side in this division."

What form have Aldershot been in?

After making several changes over the summer, the Shots have suffered a difficult start to the campaign, winning just one of their opening five league fixtures.

Waddock's side have picked up a little bit in recent weeks, after recording victories over Bromley and Dover Athletic in their last four games.

The Shots also beat high-flying Sutton earlier in the campaign, but remain 19th in the table following Tuesday's defeat by Maidstone United.