Scout report: The key strengths Hartlepool must nullify if they want to stop Salford City's title tilt
It is Hartlepool United’s last game of the season when Salford City come to the Super 6 Stadium - what can Pools expect from them?
Pools lost 3-0 in the league back in September when they visited the Peninsula Stadium and the two sides have found themselves in very contrasting positions this time around.
Salford sit 2nd in the table and have a very slim chance of still clinching the title and automatic promotion to the Football League while Pools can only finish as high as 12th should they win and results go their way.
For that to happen Salford need Leyton Orient to lose to Braintree Town and hope that they can then better a six goal swing on the goal difference.
So what will Pools be able to expect on Saturday? How will Salford play? Who are their key men? What is their current form?
Let’s take a look in our final detailed scout report of the season:
What system will Salford play ?
Manager Graham Alexander likes to build from the back with solid foundations and since the start of March his side have only conceded four goals, two of which came in a 3-2 away win at Boreham Wood.
They are also a goalscoring side too, with the second highest number of goals scored in the league with 75, just behind Harrogate on 77.
They tend to line up in the traditional 4-4-2 with immense squad depth meaning that the side is never lacking quality in any position.
As a side they boast goalscorers in a number of positions but none as potent as star man Adam Rooney who has bagged himself 21 league goals this season.
Who are Salford’s key players ?
Aside from Adam Rooney, Salford have a strong stable all over the field, however their wealth of attacking options come in the form of Matt Green, Emmanuel Dieseruvwe and Rory Gaffney.
A large volume of players in the side dropped down from the Football League to play for the club so it is a strong side with a wealth of experience.
The back line of the side get’s no weaker either with the likes of Carl Piergianni who has scored nine goals from central defence, former Fleetwood captain Nathan Pond.
Strong options at full back in Scott Wiseman and Ibou Touray keep Salford with one of the strongest defences in the league in recent weeks.
Do Salford have any injury worries ?
As it stands only Jack Redshaw is out injured for the away side, a crucial player in their promotion season in the National League North scoring 17 times.
Redshaw has been out injured for a while and is a former Manchester City academy prospect.
Salford don’t seem to have missed his goal scoring ability however with Adam Rooney and Rory Gaffney still getting amongst the goals.
The away side however may not want to risk their better players with the playoffs potentially looming on the horizon.
Who is Salford’s manager and what can we expect from them?
Graham Alexander has been in charge of the club since the start of the season having been sacked as Scunthorpe United manager in March last year.
He took over following the departure of long serving managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.
The former Scotland international had previous managerial experience at Fleetwood Town and a caretaker spell at Preston North End whilst he was still playing.
Promotion this season would be the first success of the 47-year-olds career since getting Fleetwood promoted to League One in 2014, he also guided Scunthorpe united to the League One playoffs in 2017 but lost 3-2 on aggregate to Millwall in the semi-finals.
What form have Salford been in?
Salford’s most recent result was a 1-0 defeat at AFC Fylde which made their chances of winning the league very slim.
Prior to that however the side had not lost since a 2-0 defeat against Eastleigh in February and accumulated a record of nine wins and one draw in the ten games since
Salford will be needing a win to maintain second place with Solihull Moors on the same amount of points going into their game with Dagenham & Redbridge.
Last six league games: LWWWWW