By Jacob Greenwood
Woking welcome Hartlepool United to Kingfield on Saturday as they look for their fourth win on the bounce.
Saturday’s game sees two form sides face off. The Cards came from behind to beat AFC Fylde last week with goals coming from Joe Ward and Jamie Philpott to put themselves top of the form table. Whereas Hartlepool, who had a tough start to the season, find themselves third in the form table following a 2-1 victory over Bromley.
With the exception of Cheltenham and Bristol Rovers, teams relegated from League Two have struggled to bounce back to the The Football League. We spoke to Pools fan Kate Simons to find out more about how fans in the North East see the season so far and what their expectations are for their first season in Non-League’s top flight.
Nobody likes to be relegated, but for some clubs that have been in the bottom third of League Two for a few seasons, dropping down and rebuilding can turn into a positive project. How do most Hartlepool fans see life after League Two?
Although it was heart-breaking to get relegated, I think most fans are optimistic for life after league two and everything that goes with life in the National League – new teams to play, visiting new grounds etc. I think lots of fans just want to see the team playing with passion and with fight again.
How have you found the standard of National League football since dropping down from The Football League?
It’s different, that’s one thing for sure! I think it’s a faster paced and a lot more physical compared to The Football League.
After a tricky start to life in non-league football, Hartlepool have found some form, winning four of the last six. Has this just been a case of adapting to the league?
I think it has been a case of adapting to the National league, but also adapting to the different style of play in this league. A lot of new faces were brought into the club too, so it takes time for people to gel.
Hartlepool manager Craig Harrison has been very successful in Welsh football, what do you think he can bring to non-league’s top tier and to United?
Craig was a very successful manager at TNS and I think he can bring that to Pools, he knows what it takes to be successful and he can instil that into the team. Being from the North East, Craig knows just how much this team means to the fans! He seems a vocal, hardworking and passionate manager!
A lot of teams now qualify for the National League play-offs, will getting one of these spots be a minimum expectation for the majority of fans?
I think the fans just want to see the team play well, after spending the last couple of seasons fighting relegation and then eventually being relegated, we just want to see the team playing with passion. Of course, being promoted/qualifying for the play-off’s is on everyone’s mind but people are realistic and know just how hard it is to get out of this league!
Who will be the danger men that Woking have to look out for on Saturday?
Jonathan Franks, he’s just re-signed for the club and he can’t seem to stop scoring!
Michael Woods, he plays with his heart on his sleeve and he’s not scared to put a challenge in!
Finally, what is your score prediction?
Think it’ll be a tough game, but I’m saying a 2-1 to Pools. Up the Pools!!
Photos from David Holmes. For a full set visit wokingfc.co.uk