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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Blues facing up to lost cause


Wycombe Wanderers entertain Hartlepool United on Saturday in their 33rd league game of the season.

The league table currently shows Wycombe in 24th place with 26 points from 32 games and Hartlepool in 11th spot with 41 points from 31 games.


Wycombe Home Record...W 5 - D 2 - L 9 - Pts 17...Ppg 1.06 (Rank-22)

Hartlepool Away Record...W 6 - D 5 - L 4 - Pts 23...Ppg 1.53 (Rank-7)


With fourteen games remaining and an optimistic view that seven wins might be enough to avoid relegation this season, there is a sense that such an achievement is unrealistic and the Blues now have to face up to what is a lost cause.

Of course you will hear nothing of the sort from anyone officially associated with the club. The talk remains the same from both manager and players but sadly we have been here far too many times already and the talking has rarely been followed by the walking.

There is now a considerable minority of supporters who would like to see the manager do the walking, whilst others would like the current owner to do likewise. Both appear very unlikely and are set to go down with the ship.

Whether there is anything to be salvaged from a wreckage of a campaign remains to be seen. There are calls for our younger players to be given their chance and stake their claim for first team football.

The headline to this article took some pondering, with the word fight eventually rejected as there has been precious little of that quality shown by the players this season. This is even more disappointing as the team that won promotion last season showed it in abundance.

What has changed is open to conjecture but with some of the more experienced players regularly folding like a pack of cards, the introduction of youth could be just the spark that is needed.

Striker Matt McClure is in pole position for a starting place after notching a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Hungerford Town in the Berks & Bucks Cup semi-final in midweek.

Left-back Charles Dunne, centre-back Anthony Stewart and midfielder Jesse Kewley-Graham also staked their claims with encouraging performances for the second-string side at Adams Park.

If any are to make the 16-man squad they are likely to be named on the bench with Gary Waddock signing two more players on loan this week. Midfielder Craig Eastmond has joined on loan from Arsenal for the rest of the season.

Chris Hackett becomes the 700th winger to sign for the club under the current boss and will stay for an initial month. That means the squad now boasts the maximum number of loan players that can be named in a matchday squad (five).

Midfielder James Harper's disappointing loan spell from Hull City ends after this weekend's clash with Pools but he is now a doubt with a calf injury. Watford striker Matty Whichelow's deal expires after next weekend's trip to Scunthorpe United whilst Sunderland defender Louis Laing will stay with the Blues for the rest of the season.

Gary Waddock will be without defender Dave Winfield after he picked up his tenth booking of the season in the dismal defeat at Walsall last weekend and he now serves a two-match ban.

Midfielder John Halls is recovering from surgery on his achilles whilst loan midfielder Scott Donnelly continues his rehabilitation following surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament injury and won't play again this season. Otherwise the manager has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Those who take an interest in opposition players will want to keep an eye out for teenage attacker Luke James who has attracted the attention of some big clubs with his displays for Pools this season.

Any Chairboys looking for reasons to be optimistic need look no further than our previous two meetings with the Monkey Hangers, both of which ended in victories.

Our last meeting at Adams Park came in April 2010 when the Blues were fighting another lost cause against the drop under Waddock. Goals from Jon-Paul Pittman and Matt Phillips gave the hosts a morale-boosting 2-0 win.

Back in October last year the Wanderers claimed a 3-1 win away at Victoria Park with a sublime goal from Stuart Beavon and a late debut from Jordon Ibe the highlights in what is still our last win on the road this season.

With three defeats on the bounce and eight defeats in the last ten matches, those home fans who head to Adams Park on Saturday afternoon will be a living embodiment of the triumph of hope over expectation.


Here are some stats...


Hartlepool's last five games (All Competitions)

Lg1: Sheffield Wed (A).....Drew 2-2

Lg1: Carlisle (H)...............Won 4-0

Lg1: Bournemouth (H)......Drew 0-0

Lg1: Preston (A)................Lost 0-1

Lg1: Notts County (H)........Won 3-0



Wycombe's last five games (All Competitions)

Lg1: Brentford (A).............Lost 2-5

Lg1: Tranmere (H)............Won 2-1

Lg1: Sheffield Utd (A)........Lost 0-3

Lg1: Yeovil (H)..................Lost 2-3

Lg1: Walsall (A).................Lost 0-2



Hartlepool Goal Stats (34 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)............Lg: 39...Cups: 1...Total: 40

Goals Conceded (Total)........Lg: 37...Cups: 4...Total: 41

Goals Scored (Away)...........Lg: 22...Cups: 0...Total: 22

Goals Conceded (Away).......Lg: 21...Cups: 2...Total: 23

Clean Sheets.......................Lg: 10...Cups: 0...Total: 10



Wycombe Goal Stats (37 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total).............Lg: 39...Cups: 8.....Total: 47

Goals Conceded (Total).........Lg: 63...Cups: 13...Total: 76

Goals Scored (Home)............Lg: 21...Cups: 8.....Total: 29

Goals Conceded (Home)........Lg: 28...Cups: 11...Total: 39

Clean Sheets........................Lg: 2.....Cups: 0.....Total: 2



Hartlepool's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

James Poole.............6

Antony Sweeney.......6

Adam Boyd...............5 (inc 2 pens)

Colin Nish.................4

Peter Hartley.............3

Andy Monkhouse.......3

Luke James..............3

Two other players have each scored 2 goals.

Six other players have each scored 1 goal.



Wycombe's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Stuart Beavon.........14

Marcello Trotta..........8

Scott Donnelly..........5 (inc 2 pens)

Joel Grant................4

Ben Strevens...........3

Three other players have each scored 2 goals.

Six other players have each scored 1 goal.



Hartlepool Shooting (Top-3) - All Competitions

Andy Monkhouse..23 on-target...26 off-target...3 against woodwork

Antony Sweeney..19 on-target...24 off-target...2 against woodwork

James Poole........20 on-target...19 off-target...0 against woodwork



Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Competitions

Stuart Beavon......45 on-target...15 off-target...0 against woodwork

Joel Grant............18 on-target...13 off-target...0 against woodwork

Ben Strevens.......10 on-target...16 off-target...0 against woodwork



Shooting (Club) - League Games Only

Hartlepool..136 on target...149 off target...8 against w'work (Rank-20)

Wycombe...148 on target...135 off target...5 against w'work (Rank-22)



Most Assists

Hartlepool - Evan Horwood............6

Wycombe - Gareth Ainsworth........4



League Form Guide

All Season


Hartlepool...Pld: 31...W: 11...D: 8...L: 12...Pts: 41...Pts per game: 1.32

Wycombe....Pld: 32...W: 7....D: 5...L: 20...Pts: 26...Pts per game: 0.81



First-half of the season

Hartlepool...Pld: 23...W: 8...D: 5...L: 10...Pts: 29...Pts per game: 1.26

Wycombe....Pld: 23...W: 5...D: 5...L: 13...Pts: 20...Pts per game: 0.87



Second-half of the season

Hartlepool....Pld: 8...W: 3...D: 3...L: 2...Pts: 12...Pts per game: 1.50

Wycombe.....Pld: 9...W: 2...D: 0...L: 7...Pts: 6....Pts per game: 0.67



Last Five league Games

Hartlepool.....DWDLW - 8 points (Rank-7)

Wycombe........LWLLL - 3 points (Rank-23)



Last Five League Games (Away)

Hartlepool......WLDDL - 5 points (Rank-13)



Last Five League Games (Home)

Wycombe.......LLWWL - 6 points (Rank-22)



Against Top Half Opposition

Hartlepool.....Pld: 15...Pts: 17...Pts per game: 1.13...(Rank-9)

Wycombe.....Pld: 16...Pts: 9.....Pts per game: 0.56...(Rank-22)



Against Bottom Half Opposition

Hartlepool.....Pld: 16...Pts: 24...Pts per game: 1.50...(Rank-16)

Wycombe.....Pld: 16...Pts: 17...Pts per game: 1.06...(Rank-23)



Previous Meetings

In 7 previous meetings there have been 3 wins for Hartlepool, 2 for Wycombe and 2 draws.

At Adams Park the tally is 2 wins for Pools, 1 for the Blues and 0 draws.

2003/04 LG1: Hartlepool 1 Wycombe 1

2003/04 LG1: Wycombe 3 Hartlepool 4

2006/07 LG2: Hartlepool 2 Wycombe 0

2006/07 LG2: Wycombe 0 Hartlepool 1

2009/10 LG1: Hartlepool 1 Wycombe 1

2009/10 LG1: Wycombe 2 Hartlepool 0

2011/12 LG1: Hartlepool 1 Wycombe 3



The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Brendan Malone from Wiltshire who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2010. This will be his first Wycombe game. During the current campaign he's issued 5 red and 78 yellow cards in 22 games.


Prediction

Wycombe 1 Hartlepool 2




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 23 2012

Time: 12:39PM

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A"considerable minority"it' a damn sight more than that!
mowgli1960
 

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