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Jan 29, 2022 at 3pm UK
ExeterExeter City
HartlepoolHartlepool United

Stubbs (56'), Key (70')

Ferguson (50')
Featherstone (53')

Preview: Exeter City vs. Hartlepool United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Exeter City vs. Hartlepool United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's League Two clash between Exeter City and Hartlepool United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Exeter City continue their quest to secure a playoff position in League Two, currently sitting in eighth, one point behind seventh, so three points on Saturday could see them leapfrog Mansfield, Swindon and Northampton.

Hartlepool United are the side that stand in their way this weekend, and they travel to St James' Park having not won a domestic outing since December 8, placing them in 16th spot.

Match preview

Matt Taylor's side ended a poor run of form, which saw them go six games without a win in all competitions, two weeks ago and followed that up with another victory, recording back-to-back wins in League Two for the first time since October.

The Grecians won 2-0 away at Walsall last weekend, thanks to goals from Timothee Dieng and Cheick Diabate's first goal this season after returning to the club from his loan spell at Truro City.

Consecutive 2-0 wins have ensured that Exeter remain within touching distance of the playoff places, and they will be confident about another three points this weekend given their good record on home soil.

Exeter have only lost twice at St James' Park in the league this campaign, winning six of their 12 matches, and considering Hartlepool's poor away record also, that makes Saturday's hosts strong favourites for this clash.

Hartlepool have only won once on their travels this season, losing 10 of their 13 away matches, and only managing eight goals during that time, but Graeme Lee will hope that victory in the EFL Trophy lifts his side's ahead of this encounter.

Lee's team took League One outfit Charlton Athletic to penalties in that competition after a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes, and perfect penalties from all five takers secured a place in the semi-final.

Prior to that, Hartlepool gained another point in the league as Nicky Featherstone equalised against Stevenage to send that match to a 1-1 draw, despite United creating the majority of chances.

However, six games without victory takes Hartlepool back to the beginning of December since they last tasted victory, and that is something Lee will be looking to change on Saturday.

In the reverse fixture between these two sides, goals from Luke Molyneux and Sam Nombe cancelled each other out and both teams had to settle for a point each.

Exeter City League Two form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Exeter City form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Hartlepool United League Two form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D

Hartlepool United form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D

Team News

Exeter striker Offrande Zanzala was forced off after just 16 minutes last time out against Walsall, and the 24-year-old is unlikely to make a recovery in time for this weekend's match, meaning that Padraig Amond could lead the line from the start.

The home team will have a back three including Diabate, Sam Stubbs and Pierce Sweeney, with Jake Caprice and Josh Key providing the width from their wing-back positions, offering a big attacking threat having had nine goal involvements between them this season.

Hartlepool's Jamie Sterry received a straight red card against Bristol Rovers earlier this month, but he can return to league action after serving his suspension against Carlisle and Stevenage.

The visitors are expected to take a more defensive approach and look to hit Exeter on the counter attack, setting up with a defensive five including David Ferguson, Timi Odusina, Gary Liddle, Neill Byrne and Reagan Ogle.

Molyneux will continue to lead the line for Hartlepool, and he will be joined by either Mark Cullen or new signing Marcus Carver, who is looking for his first goal for the club, in an attacking duo.

Exeter City possible starting lineup:
Dawson; Diabate, Stubbs, Sweeney; Caprice, Collins, Dieng, Key; Jay; Brown, Amond

Hartlepool United possible starting lineup:
Killip; Ferguson, Odusina, Liddle, Byrne, Ogle; Featherstone, Holohan, Shelton; Carver, Molyneux

We say: Exeter City 2-1 Hartlepool United

Exeter enter this match in good spirits after consecutive 2-0 wins, and they should get on the scoresheet a couple of times on Saturday also given Hartlepool's poor away record.

The visitors could make it difficult for Exeter after a big boost in midweek, but the home side should have enough momentum to outscore their opposition this weekend.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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23Oldham AthleticOldham33710163451-1731
24Scunthorpe UnitedScunthorpe35412192459-3524
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