KELLY’S EYE: Can Hartlepool United’s troops storm to revenge at Plymouth Argyle?

Pools fans in Stormtroopers fancy dress ahead of the game at Plymouth Argyle last season
Pools fans in Stormtroopers fancy dress ahead of the game at Plymouth Argyle last season

Surrenders are not pleasant to watch.

Unless, of course, it is the opposition folding like deckchairs.

But if it’s the side close to your heart then it can make painful viewing.

Hartlepool United have raised the white flag in two of their last five away days, losing by five-goal margins.

The defeat at Stevenage is still fresh in the memory though, to an extent, that has been exorcised by the 2-1 win at Yeovil and the first clean sheet of the season.

But, and it’s not a little but, there is a test to come.

Craig Hignett’s men are venturing to Plymouth Argyle, who thrashed an out-of-sorts Pools 5-0 on the final day of last season,

While Argyle were favourites on the day - they finished the regular League Two season in fifth place with Pools 16th - they had rung the changes to rest key players ahead of the play-offs.

Tyler Harvey scored his first two goals of the season with Louis Rooney also getting a brace and Curtis Nelson was also on target.

It was a miserable afternoon for 521 Pools fans, many of them who made the 387-mile journey decked out in Star Wars Stormtrooper costumes.

That pasting was, perhaps, understandable though not excusable, given it was the last game and the players, who had done the hard work in March and April, may have allowed their minds to stray to the beaches and bars of Magaluf.

Saturday is going to test those minds and bodies for that matter.

Plymouth are what Kelly’s Eye could describe, without any exaggeration, as rampant at this moment in time.

They have shaken off their Wembley hangover and look in rude health.

After losing their first two matches, they have come back with six straight wins to go from the bottom of the table to the top, with four clean sheets en route.

A trip to Home Park would be hard enough at the best of times, but given the form of the Pilgrims makes it even more difficult.

But perhaps, given that last day of the season collapse and the rout at Stevenage this has come at the right time for Pools and Hignett.

If Pools are to challenge in the higher echelons of League Two, then this trip will give them and us an indicator of just how viable that notion may be.

Kelly’s Eye has seen plenty of scope for encouragement.

After the smash and grab at Yeovil came a first clean sheet against Mansfield with Toto Nsiala and Scott Harrison forming an effective pairing at the back.

It was horrible to see Carl Magnay injured, but also good to see a return for Jake Carroll after his rare off-day at Stevenage and Liam Donnelly played well on his home debut.

Josh Laurent showed athleticism and ambition in midfield, while Nathan Thomas, while not hitting the heights of the previous Saturday, was again a menace.

It’s not just going to be those six men who will be vital to the cause - it is going to be all 11 who take to the field.

Pools can afford no more surrenders and Kelly’s Eye has a hunch we will witness something good this week.