Where can Hartlepool make up their dropped points?

Jake Carroll.
Jake Carroll.

The last few weeks has been a tale of missed opportunities for Hartlepool United.

Points dropped has been the common denominator for Craig Hignett's men, despite a run of games where they have performed well against those at the higher echelons of the League Two table.

A play-off charge, stated by those within the dressing rooms and halls of power at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, as the number one aim this season, has been derailed somewhat recently.

But how can 13th-placed Pools make up lost ground?

Well, five of their next seven fourth tier games are against sides below them in the table.

Here we take a look at the next few weeks and predict just where they can right a few wrongs.

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Leyton Orient (H) - Saturday - 22nd

Only two teams have been worse than Saturday's opponents so far this season.

Back on September 26 Orient sacked manager Andy Hessenthaler following a poor opening to the campaign, with untried and untested Italian Alberto Cavasin.

And, as expected, Cavasin has struggled to arrest the decline, despite having one of the largest wage budgets at this level.

This looks like it should be a home banker for Pools. Although, they are yet to win a game at the Vic since April.

Barnet (A) - October 29 - 23rd

A winless run which stretches back to September 10 - a 1-0 triumph over Mansfield Town - has seen a decent start to the season quickly evaporate at Underhill.

Last weekend they were hammered 4-1 at home by Exeter, which came just days after a 5-0 loss to Norwich City's U/23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Again, if Pools have any serious ambitions about getting into the play-off mix, this is a must win.

Cheltenham (H) - November 12 - 19th

Despite their lowly position, Cheltenham are actually unbeaten in their last five.

That run includes last weekend's 2-1 win over Crawley Town, who in all honesty were outstanding at the Vic against Pools recently.

This could be a case of 'easier said than done' for Pools. But again this one is a 'must not lose'.

Doncaster (A) - November 19 - 2nd

Right. Let's not beat about the bush here. This is the toughest game Pools have of this sequence of seven.

Doncaster are a team who have ambitions above this level and the way they have started very much suggests that.

A point from this would be a big bonus. Although, it seems that Pools have saved their best for the top performers at this level lately.

Accrington Stanley (H) - November 22 - 7th

On the face of it they are six spots above Pools in the table, but very little - just three points - actually separates them.

That goes to show how tight this division is at this stage of proceedings.

A win at the weekend and Pools could even go above them, with a few goal swing.

At the Vic, Hignett's men have to fancy their chances.

Wycombe Wanderers (A) - November 26 - 16th

Again with the promotion play-off places the aim, Pools have to view this as a win.

But, as recent events have proved, getting that win over the line is easier said than done.

Wycombe have had a similar type season to Pools so far and sit just a point behind in the table on 15 from their 13 games.

Cambridge (H) - December 10 - 21st

It took Cambridge until the end of September to get a win under their belts this season.

But since then the they really have got the ball rolling with good wins over Accrington, Yeovil and Middlesbrough in the Checkatrade Trophy.

At home, against one of the division's less fancied sides a win must be the target.