Oldham v Hartlepool, League One, September 4, 2009
Hartlepool hung on to their League One status by their fingernails last season, and the way things have begun this year it looks like being another long campaign for the Monkey Hangers.
In five matches already this term Chris Turner’s Pool have only won once, while they have worryingly lost at home to Charlton, Bristol Rovers and Norwich in their last three matches at Victoria Park. With their home form so desperate, perhaps at trip to Oldham is just what the doctor ordered.
Last year Hartlepool had the second best home scoring record in the league, better than Leicester, Peterborough and MK Dons with only Leeds scoring more goals at home. This season they’ve mustered just two home goals in four games, despite signing three new strikers over the summer.
22-year-old striker James Brown (11/4 to score) has only managed to get on the scoresheet once this season, while fellow strike-partner Adam Boyd (15/2 to score first), who re-joined Pools from Leyton Orient in the summer, has so far failed to break his duck for the season with the forward still trying to regain his match-fitness after missing the last three months of last season.
Looking to freshen up the squad, Turner has recently signed Armann Bjornsson from Norwegian outfit SK Brann. Bjornsson, 28, arrives with the reputation of being a versatile player who can operate at the back or lead the line.
With six points from five matches, Oldham have started the season only slightly better than their opponents on Friday night. The Latics have also onlyÂ won once so far this season, away on the road at Leyton Orient, and the Boundary Park faithful will be optimistic of seeing their team claiming their first third point haul at home this weekend.
Oldham boss Dave Penney has made moves to bolster his squad by adding fresh faces over the summer, with 19-year-old Blackburn striker Nick Blackman (5/1 to score first) the pick of the arrivals at the League One club. Blackman scored a beauty for Oldham during their 1-all draw with Brentford last Saturday as the striker bedded down in his new temporary home for the next few months. The hope is for BlackmanÂ can forge a useful partnership with mainstay striker Pawel Abbott (6/5 to score) that can help fire the Latics into promotion contention.
Dave Penney could again be without winger Chris Taylor and midfielder Jon Worthington for the match with Pools, both players are currently sidelined with injury.
101predicts: Oldham 1 – Hartlepool 1 (11/2)
Full match odds here.