Scout report: Why a trip to out-of-form Harrogate is the perfect chance for Hartlepool to kick-start their season
Hartlepool United travel to Harrogate Town this afternoon - but what should they expect?
Pools travel to the CNG Stadium in a televised clash and, with three new signings set to form part of their travelling party, will be looking to kick-start their season and climb up the National League.
And with hosts Harrogate entering the clash in a poor run of form, the televised test could prove to be the ideal catalyst for Richard Money's men.
That's not to say it will be straightforward, with the Yorkshire side possessing a talented squad.
So what should Pools expect? We take a look at the opposition in our comprehensive scout report:
What system will Harrogate Town play?
Harrogate tend to operate in a 4-3-3 system - and it’s one in which they are well-versed and extremely comfortable in.
A robust and well-disciplined spine of the team provides plenty of stability, while pace and creativity out wide ensures that the side are a real force in attacking areas.
There’s plenty of experience in their ranks, too - which has no doubt helped in their rapid acclimatisation to life in the National League.
Who are Harrogate Town’s key players?
There are a few recognisable names in Town’s squad, which has a number of former EFL players - as well as the obvious familiar face in Michael Woods.
At the back, the experienced Kelvin Langmead leads by example and uses his experience - which includes spells at Preston and Peterborough, among others - to great effect.
Out wide, the lively Jack Muldoon and Joe Leesley are threats in and around the area. The pair have contributed 12 goals between them this season and will need to be marshalled carefully.
Former Carlisle and Darlington man Mark Beck will likely lead the line in Yorkshire and his aerial ability and poachers instinct rightly make him a feared threat.
Naturally, Pools fans will have a close eye on midfielder Woods too. But don’t expect the former Chelsea man to feature for 90 minutes; he has been handed just two league starts since leaving the Super 6 Stadium.
Do Harrogate Town have any injury worries?
Harrogate have no fresh injury worries ahead of their trip to the North East, meaning manager Simon Weaver could opt to name an unchanged side from that which drew with Dover last weekend.
Who is Harrogate Town’s manager and what can we expect from them?
Having spent almost a decade in the dugout at Harrogate, Weaver is part of the furniture at the club and has helped mastermind their ascent up the footballing pyramid.
Assisted by former Sunderland midfielder Paul Thirlwell, Weaver and his team have spearheaded a real upsurge in results in recent years - and now have their sights set on the EFL.
What form have Harrogate Town been in?
After a positive start to the season - which saw Harrogate emerge as genuine promotion contenders - results have tailed off slightly in recent weeks.
Town have won just one of their last six games in all competitions and have not registered a win in the National League since December 8.
Such a poor run of form should give Pools hope of picking up some form of result from their visit to the CNG Stadium - but of course, that will be easier said than done.
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