PREVIEW: Hartlepool United

Fleet welcome Dean Rance back from suspension as Hartlepool United make the long trip to the Kuflink Stadium on a Tuesday evening following the recent postponement of the original fixture.

Rance’s return helps ease the pressure on Garry Hill’s small squad, though with Saturday’s starting eleven getting through 85 minutes before the appearance of any substitutes, there should also be some fresh legs available in the forward line, Cody McDonald and Danny Kedwell seeing only a little of the action at Harrogate. But they will have to dislodge Michael Cheek (pictured); with the former Dagenham striker entering double figures to collect his 10th goal of the season at Harrogate and leading the line so effectively there, that will be no mean feat.

Another win would see Fleet level with Saturday’s opponents and reduce the gap to the play-off places to just two points. Form is certainly with Hill’s side who have lost only three games in the last 17 league outings and all of them coming against top-seven opposition.

But first the home side must overcome a buoyant Hartlepool looking for their first ever win in what will be four attempts of playing against the Fleet. Pools thrashed Boreham Wood 4-0 on Saturday, the biggest defeat of the campaign for last season’s play-off finalists, and the former League side are enjoying life under new manager Craig Hignett.

He returned to the top job at Hartlepool following Richard Money’s short-lived tenure and his appointment has coincided with a rich vein of form from newly signed striker Nicke Kabamaba, formerly of Hampton, Aldershot Town and Havant & Waterlooville. Kabamba scored twice on Saturday to take his tally to five goals in the last four games, while youngster Josh Hawkes claimed the other two and he is also in good form for Pools.

The visitors have yet to score in three appearances against the Fleet but the home defence will certainly need to be on song against a side that hasn’t failed to find the net in the league since early November.

Skipper Liam Noble, who has also featured heavily in the goalscoring charts from midfield, has recently returned from injury so the visitors are only without defensive pair Carl Magnay and on-loan Michael Raynes (both knee injuries), while Luke Williams (achilles) is also a doubt.


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Ed Miller

Ed Miller

Ed Miller has been Ebbsfleet United's communications manager and programme editor since 2014 and responsible for the club website since 2007. Contact him on

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First-Team Squad