Henrich Ravas set to step between the sticks as Hartlepool look to extend unbeaten run to 14


With the race for the automatic promotion spot in Hartlepool’s sight it would be vital that Dave Challinor had his full strength 11 available every game, but with the injury to Ben Killip will that damage the Pools chances of the title?

Saturday’s game against Notts County is one of the biggest in their final eight games of the season which sees the side also play the likes of Chesterfield, Bromley and Sutton, with the side neck and neck with leaders Sutton United, Dave Challinor discussed the points tally that will be required for his side’s targets, stating,

“It’s probably going to need at least 75 to finish second or third and in terms of winning the league, it’s probably going to take 84 which would mean virtually winning every game for us.”

However, he followed up by saying how whilst it was the end goal, it isn’t the thing to focus on,

“It’s still doable and that’s our aim but our short term aim is winning our next game and keeping the momentum building.”

Challinor furthermore spoke about the potential of getting in extra bodies into the dressing room to bolster the side’s chances of a return to the fourth flight of English Football.

“We certainly need some cover, we’ll obviously need to make a decision about the goalkeeper following the news we had with Ben on Tuesday.”

Referencing the fact that it looks like the Pools’ starting ‘keeper after a specialist assessment is thought to have damaged his medial ligament, as a result of the incident from Monday’s game against Boreham Wood which saw Rhys Oates don the shirt of this weekend’s expected goalkeeper, Henrich Ravas.

Ravas, on loan from Championship outlet Derby County, has played a handful of times for the Pools this season and will be hoping to create a solid case for him to be the number one for the final games of the season, should Killip be out for eight to twelve weeks as expected by Challinor.

The Rams loanee will be looking to right previous wrongs from this season, with the Pools only winning one game with the Slovakian in between the sticks, conceding six goals in five games in the league in the games he has played.

He comes into the side and faces a major challenge in the form of Notts County though, with the away side coming into the game after a 4-2 away win against Woking.

The away side started the game strong, scoring in the 20th minute through Mark Ellis, the veteran defender’s second in as many games, before falling behind in the 33rd minute to the side sitting in 18th, conceding two in five minutes, through a penalty and a Sam Ashford goal.

Notts would come out flying in the second half though and saw Jimmy Knowles score three, his first goals since November. The 20-year-old Mansfield loanee has now scored five this season, albeit from 20 appearances, yet the majority of these have been from the bench, with the striker only starting seven.

Nonetheless, the youngster will be looking to improve his tally further and the injury news will only boost his confidence ahead of Saturday’s fixture that he will potentially have the chance to bolster his own record whilst also solidifying County’s place in the playoff picture.

Both teams come into the clash in an exceptional spell of form that is expected of two of the league’s best teams this term. Hartlepool unbeaten in 13 games ahead of this tie, also having the best home record in the league picking up 36 points from 17 games at the Vic, unbeaten in their last 11, winning 10 of those. Making the Vic a fortress.

However, Notts will be looking to end that streak. Their away form is exceptional at the current stage of the season and with run-ins against Chesterfield and Halifax, this record is only the more impressive. In their last 10 County have won five and drew five, with the run going back to November.

County will also be looking to get one over on Pools following the game earlier in the season, Hartlepool came away from Meadow’s lane with all three points in December with Luke Armstrong scoring the only goal of the tie.

Sutton United will be all eyes come tomorrow evening, their scheduled opponents Dover Athletic have had their remaining fixtures cancelled due to the ongoing situation that the coastal club faces regarding finances.

With the possibility that Hartlepool can go top of the league until at least the 13th when Sutton play Torquay in a massive game at the top of the Vanarama National League, it is really all to play for tomorrow for the Pools, but County could crush those hopes of the title coming to Victoria Park.


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