- Ashton Gate
- BT Sport 1
- Hartlepool have won four of their last five matches.
- Torquay have drawn their last five games after 90 minutes.
- Rhys Oates has scored nine goals in his last nine National League appearances.
Pools preferred while Oates is on a roll
Hartlepool take on Torquay at Ashton Gate on Sunday with a coveted return to the EFL at stake as the prize for the winner.
The loser gets to start from scratch and attempt to do it all again with a gruelling 42-game season followed by the possibility of another set of tension-ridden playoff games.
And it is the fear of facing that prospect on Monday morning that will probably mean both teams settle for a cagey start.
Pools have rediscovered their mid-season form and picked up momentum at just the right time with three wins in a row and eight goals scored during that late-season march.
Rhys Oates was tipped to inscribe his name on the scoresheet against Stockport County and he duly hit the winner from range in the second half.
His record of nine goals in his last nine Nation al League appearances makes him an obvious selection for an anytime goalscorer bet this Sunday at roughly the same price he was last weekend.
Torquay’s defensive record isn’t as good as Stockport’s so this looks another great opportunity to back the in-form Pools player to grab a goal.
Danny Wright is the Gulls’ most dangerous forward with 11 goals in an injury-curtailed campaign and a hat-trick in his side’s 5-0 demolition of Dave Challinor’s side back in October.
The Gulls needed extra time to squeeze past Notts County 4-2 in their semi-final, but the Magpies had chances to come back for a third time only to be denied by a point-blank save and the crossbar.
Gary Johnson’s men have conceded two goals exactly in three of their last four games, which does little for our confidence in their defence.
Pools look the play here because they have the momentum and because both sides have in-form strikers we will take Challinor’s side to come through with both teams on the scoreboard.
- 13 Aug
- 13 Aug