Graeme Lee insists Hartlepool United must be alert to set piece danger from Northampton Town

Graeme Lee is hoping his side can learn from their dead ball mistakes as they prepare to face the set piece kings in Northampton Town this afternoon.

By Joe Ramage
Saturday, 26th March 2022, 10:00 am

The Cobblers have scored a whopping 21 times from set plays this season, 47% of their total of 45 goals as per WhoScored, with defenders Jon Guthrie and Fraser Horsfall contributing 14 goals to Northampton’s tally.

And it is something Pools will have to be alert to on their visit to Sixfields this afternoon having conceded from a set piece in each of their last two games against Newport County, where Omar Bogle diverted into his own net, and Bradford City, where Yann Songo’o converted at the near post from Callum Cooke’s corner.

“We speak about it all the time and them little details about stopping the opponent all over the pitch, not just on set plays, is massive,” Lee told The Mail.

Graeme Lee is alert to the threat posed by Northampton Town from set pieces. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“Everyone has got to know their role on set plays and where they should be and what their job is and if that ball is there you have to go and head it.

“We worked on it last week and spoke about fighting for every touch of that ball and not letting your opponents win the first ball and how you have to mark in the box and how you have to defend.

“I think Gary Liddle showed that with the majority of set plays last week where he went and got the first head on it.

“It’s massive because as much as you’ve got to stop your man, somebody has got to head the ball out of the box.

Bradford City are one of two teams to score from a set play against Hartlepool United in the last two games. Picture by FRANK REID

“Unfortunately Omar held his man off and then directed the ball into his own goal so he part did his job and then didn’t do his job because he scores the goal."

Lee added: “I hate conceding any goal but set pieces are frustrating. You can even go back to the Crystal Palace game.

“We shouldn't give teams them opportunities, so it’s something we’re working on and looking at trying to improve on and hopefully we can nullify that [today].”

But it’s not just freekicks and corners Pools will have to deal with from Jon Brady’s side with the Cobblers’ creative spark Mitchell Pinnock, who has 12 assists and seven goals to his name this season, also possessing a long throw in his arsenal.

And Brady has stressed his side will be back at their best this afternoon after slipping to a narrow defeat at Sixfields against Bristol Rovers last time out.

“I feel, through this week and through the lessons we learned on Saturday, we will be stronger for it,” Brady told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

“A lot of teams, and a lot of bigger clubs, have struggled this season. When we haven’t had our best games, we have bounced back pretty quickly.

“We know what we can do but sometimes you can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the game and I felt we did on Saturday, but we will be back to our best this weekend, that’s for sure.”

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