Hartlepool United Forum - 1st Game of the season
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1st Game of the season
03 August 2015 10:58 Post ID: #107871
Fantasy Football Champion 09/10 and 10/11
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Is all but here... we had an eventful summer and I think overall people are more optimistic about our future (short and long term) than they have for a while.

New owners, 10 new players, new kit, new pitch and I am sure many other new things in and around the ground.

But what actual difference will it make on the pitch.

Plus and negative points of pre season are:

+ We have what looks like a much more rounded squad, with more competition for places this season.
+ Although we haven't won every game, we certainly seem to be creating 'A LOT' of chances... which is a vast improvement on recent years.
+ 4 actual strikers to chose from, all have scored in pre season, all offer something different and potentially we have 2 strikers capable of double figure goal tallys
+ Woods has come through pre season in flying colours.
+ We genuinely look like a 'fit' team even in friendlies lads have kept going to the end... promising for the long season a head

– We have conceded a lot of goals against teams who are not to far away from the regular L2 standard.
– Not sure RM knows what his best back 3/5 is
– Carson has already had a few injuries, although sub keeper has been good
– Worried that with no additional wingers added we might be stuck with the 3-5-2 system for sometime.
– The midfield 'enforcer' role now seems to be Magneys, time will tell if he is better than other options in there but happy to give him a go.

As Saturday draws near I have to say... I have no idea how this first game will go. I can see a big goal swing either for or against us... but I can also see a Peterborough (first day 4-3) or some sort of Carlisle (last day) revival to spare our blushes.

My final Prediction will be on the prediction league.
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03 August 2015 13:35 Post ID: #107872 - in reply to #107871
Antony Sweeney
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I've not seen any of the friendlies so cannot comment on them, although I have been a bit concerned at the reports that the players are struggling with the formation.

We've brought a lot of bodies in. Ranging from people who I have literally never heard of to people like Rakish Bingham, who I have high hopes for.

I'm concerned that we are already struggling to fill certain positions and are playing lads out of position. I will wait and see how we line up on Saturday but if we have signed one of the top defenders in the Conference and stick him in midfield I will be very disappointed.

I'd like to see Fenwick and Bingham up top. Power, pace, aggression, finishing. I think that would be a really impressive front two. The line-ups in the pre-season suggest it will be Paynter rather than Fenwick.

Agree with you Owen that Woods' return to fitness has been a big boost. I just think that we might end up being overreliant on him, especially given his injury and disciplinary history.
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03 August 2015 13:48 Post ID: #107873 - in reply to #107871
Fantasy Football Champion 09/10 and 10/11
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I think it is only back 3 and new wingbacks (granted thats 4/5 players) that are struggling and it will come with time I am sure. Not bothered about 'knowing' players I had never heard of Joel Porter or Dimi before they came here... but I agree there is more hope for certain players.

I don' think we are struggling. I don't think Bates is the 'enforcer' and I also think that maybe Duckworth has shown more worth and is used to the system so by shuffling 1 or 2 around it makes for a stronger overall unit. I am not a fan of this idea that players only have 'one' position. There are plenty of players at all levels that can play multiple positions and do it well. Totally comes down to the individual and his ability/desire.

How do we know that Magney could be a L1 midfielder but only a conference defender. could be the case that RM has unearthed a real positive in him (just talking hypothetically).

Think Featherstone has sounded sharp in pre season and has been involved as much as Woods in the good things we have done... taking the defensive duties off them maybe has freed both up to excel going forward.

Agree that I would rather see Fenwick start but isnt it great that we have 4 genuine options and if someone is doing well they play. I dont expect to see Rakish and Paytner up top all season.

One thing is for sure... I am excited for Saturday.

Side note Mirfin has just been released by Scunthorpe. Fingers crossed he comes back to Pools
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03 August 2015 14:40 Post ID: #107874 - in reply to #107873
Antony Sweeney
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Owenhpool - 3/8/2015 13:48

Not bothered about 'knowing' players I had never heard of Joel Porter or Dimi before they came here... but I agree there is more hope for certain players.


Oh I certainly don't think it's a bad thing. I think signing players with a range of histories and experiences is a good thing. I think most Poolies would agree that one of the main reasons for our struggles in the past few years is that we were reliant on ex-Boro lads and has beens dropping down the leagues, supplemented by 18-year-old lads on loan.

Mirfin would be an excellent signing. He was a star for us last season, has a good relationship with Harrison and Jones and can play the system we want.

Don't know where that would leave Worley and Magnay though, assuming it's Carroll at LWB and Ducky at RWB.
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03 August 2015 14:57 Post ID: #107875 - in reply to #107871
Fantasy Football Champion 09/10 and 10/11
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I'd be dead happy if we had those 4 as centre backs... happy with them all fighting for places.

That would also leave Magney/Carroll/Duckworth can fight for the wing back spots with all of them being able to provide or play at least 1 other position... that in itself sounds like a massively strong squad of players for defensive positions... like back in the day when we had Nelson, Westwood, Clarke and another fighting for 2 starting spots... thats what gets you promoted the pressure of having to play well to keep your spot
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03 August 2015 15:43 Post ID: #107876 - in reply to #107875
Antony Sweeney
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Owenhpool - 3/8/2015 14:57

I'd be dead happy if we had those 4 as centre backs... happy with them all fighting for places.

That would also leave Magney/Carroll/Duckworth can fight for the wing back spots with all of them being able to provide or play at least 1 other position... that in itself sounds like a massively strong squad of players for defensive positions... like back in the day when we had Nelson, Westwood, Clarke and another fighting for 2 starting spots... thats what gets you promoted the pressure of having to play well to keep your spot


But we'd then have Mirfin, Harrison, Jones, Magnay, Worley and Bates at CB, which would seem a bit excessive as three would miss out every week unless we're playing people out of position.

Maybe that dosh would be better used elsewhere?

Midfield is still my worry, especially at home where we will need creativity to break down teams. We're going to have 5 defenders plus a defensive midfielder, I'll be interested to see if and how that works in practice.
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03 August 2015 15:50 Post ID: #107877 - in reply to #107871
James Poole
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Whilst I believe the squad is far better than last season I still believe it is a case of let's see what happens when the competitive games start. I still hold the theory that if you sign six or seven free transfer players you will be lucky to get three or four successes. From what I have seen I cannot see better than mid table. Pessimistic maybe but honest and hopefully wrong.
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03 August 2015 17:04 Post ID: #107878 - in reply to #107871
Fantasy Football Champion 09/10 and 10/11
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I see 4 centre backs in there... Mirfin, Harrison, Jones, Worley.

RM has said he doesnt see Bates as a CB and Magney refers to himself as a fullback in the interviews I'v heard.
Jones can also cover at Left Back as well (in the games Iv seen I think he looks more comfortable there)

Although I am not saying it should happen if you class

Mirfin, Jones, Harrisson, Worley, Bates, Carroll, Magney and Duckworth as our defenders you could see a starting 11 with 6 of them 8 in it easy.

JohnJo I can understand your lack of optimism but I don't agree with your thoughts on free transfers (as discussed on another thread). I reckon 90% of transfers in this league are frees and the success ratio will ne higher now than say 10 years ago.
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03 August 2015 18:18 Post ID: #107879 - in reply to #107878
Antony Sweeney
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Owenhpool - 3/8/2015 17:04

Mirfin, Jones, Harrisson, Worley, Bates, Carroll, Magney and Duckworth as our defenders you could see a starting 11 with 6 of them 8 in it easy.


I don't think any team at any level needs six defenders in it.
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03 August 2015 18:24 Post ID: #107880 - in reply to #107871
Fantasy Football Champion 09/10 and 10/11
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if your play 3/5 at the back you do... or you wouldn't have any subs.
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03 August 2015 18:47 Post ID: #107881 - in reply to #107880
Antony Sweeney
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Owenhpool - 3/8/2015 18:24

if your play 3/5 at the back you do... or you wouldn't have any subs.


You don't need six defenders in your starting XI even if you are playing 3 or 5 at the back!
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03 August 2015 21:02 Post ID: #107885 - in reply to #107871
Antony Sweeney
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It would be great to have Mirfin back. Sadly I can't see it happening though, given what we'd be able to pay him.
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03 August 2015 22:57 Post ID: #107886 - in reply to #107871
Simon Walton
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Several weeks back I predicted a mid-table finish based on the assumed quality of the new signings but not having seen the side play.Having witnessed last Saturday's performance, albeit against a less than average L1 side, I'm revising this accordingly. The squad (as it stands) is better than last season but not amazingly better and to be brutally honest we looked rather toothless once again. I therefore think we may struggle to stay out of trouble - at least in the initial 3-4 weeks. Let's hope that I am wrong as we really could do with a decent start to the season for once.
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04 August 2015 02:17 Post ID: #107887 - in reply to #107871
Attendance Prediction League Champion 11/12 and 12/13
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Im thinking along the same lines as you Joe.
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04 August 2015 03:43 Post ID: #107888 - in reply to #107871
James Poole
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I agree that most transfers in this league are free but still there is a large turnover every season of failures and the best frees go for the best payers.
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04 August 2015 15:29 Post ID: #107892 - in reply to #107871
Simon Walton
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On this centre back argument Ronnie Moore has said he's considering getting another centre back in at least as cover for Jones who is struggling with injury. So Mirfin is certainly a canditate for short term, and if he done well he would be stupid to let him go.

On the other side of the coin though both of you have missed two other players who could play in the back 5; Richards and Nearney, although Moore has mentioned about sending some younger lads out on loan and Nearney would be one of them.
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04 August 2015 16:30 Post ID: #107899 - in reply to #107871
James Poole
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Nearney struggled at Darlington last season and I don't think Ronnie rates Richards that highly. If he had not been on a 2yr contract I think he would of been released along with Holden. Certainly not big enough to play central defence in our league.
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