• Sky Bet League One
  • Date: Sat 22 December 2012
  • Kick-off: 15:00
  • Venue: Victoria Park

Hartlepool United vs Portsmouth


Form Guide - Sky Bet League One

Hartlepool United

D L L W W D D D

Portsmouth

D W D W D L W L



Match Preview









Trio set for Pools return

Hartlepool boss John Hughes could be given a triple boost in his search for a first win in charge of the club against Portsmouth.

Hughes, who replaced Neale Cooper in mid-November, has lost four and drawn one of his first five games at the helm, but midfielders Nathan Luscombe (knee) and Simon Walton (hamstring), plus defender Peter Hartley (conjunctivitis) all returned to training on Thursday and hope to be in contention for the weekend.

Defender Evan Horwood could face a late fitness test after being forced off with a groin injury early in last week's defeat at MK Dons. Teenager Darren Holden replaced him on Saturday and is on stand-by.

Another teenager, striker Luke James, also hopes to return to the squad following a bout of tonsillitis, but goalkeeper Andy Rafferty remains a long-term absentee following his summer knee operation.

Pools, 11 points adrift at the foot of the table, are chasing their first win since September 1 - their only success in npower League One this season.

Paul Benson returns to the Portsmouth squad for the trip.

The striker missed last Saturday's goalless draw against Preston with a virus but has returned to training this week.

Jake Jervis took Benson's place in the starting line-up at the weekend so he could be the man to make way if the former Dagenham frontman earns an immediate recall.

Benson's return means caretaker boss Guy Whittingham has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Lee Williamson came off the bench against Preston and will be pushing for places in the starting line-up should Whittingham change things around with Pompey winless in 10 matches.

They are back in the relegation zone and still have the possibility of a 10-point penalty hanging over them.

Sky Bet League One table

Pos Team Pld GD Pts
1 Scunthorpe 10 14 21
2 Bury 10 8 20
3 Bradford 10 5 18
4 Northampton 10 7 17
5 Port Vale 10 3 17
6 Sheff Utd 10 0 17
7 Bolton 10 2 16
8 Gillingham 10 -2 15
9 Peterborough 10 4 13
10 Bristol Rovers 10 -1 13

Full Sky Bet League One Table