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Jun 13, 2021 at 12pm UK
StockportStockport County
HartlepoolHartlepool United

Jennings (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Oates (76')
Holohan (63')

Preview: Stockport County vs. Hartlepool United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Stockport County vs. Hartlepool United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's National League clash between Stockport County and Hartlepool United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Stockport County and Hartlepool United meet on Sunday afternoon looking to book their spot in the National League playoff final.

While County earned a place in the last four through finishing in third position during the regular season, Hartlepool were required to overcome Bromley last weekend.

Match preview

At a time when Stockport have been allowed to enjoy a brief break, Hartlepool have remained on the training pitch as they bid to earn a return to League Two.

Having suffered three defeats during their final five league fixtures, Dave Challinor will see the positives from his squad needing to stayed focused at the business end of the season.

A 4-0 win over Weymouth put them in the right mindset ahead of facing Bromley in the quarter-finals, a tie which was effectively decided in the opening 24 minutes.

Hartlepool scored three times during a seven-minute period, and a second-half comeback from Bromley was not enough as the North-East outfit eventually posted a 3-2 victory.

Rhys Oates scored a double during that contest, extending his recent streak to nine strikes from just 10 appearances.

From Stockport's perspective, they head into this encounter on the back of an 18-match unbeaten streak in the National League.

While three draws have been posted in four outings, Simon Rusk has been left delighted with his team's form since his arrival at the start of the year.

Stockport kept just one shutout during that concluding period, but they ended the campaign having conceded at least four goals fewer than any other team in the division.

Despite producing the stronger recent form and outperforming their next opponents over 42 games, Stockport failed to win either meeting with Hartlepool during the regular season.

Stockport County National League form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W

Hartlepool United National League form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Barring any late fitness issues, Stockport could line up with the same team which edged out Yeovil Town on the last game of the season.

John Rooney scored his 18th goal of the campaign at Huish Park, moving him one behind leading marksman Alex Reid.

Challinor has suggested that Gavan Holohan is likely to shake off the knock sustained during the win over Bromley.

Lewis Cass may come back into contention after missing that fixture with a hamstring injury.

Stockport County possible starting lineup:
Hinchliffe; Jennings, Palmer, Hogan; Southam-Hales, Croasdale, Rooney, Keane, Walker; Cardwell, Reid

Hartlepool United possible starting lineup:
James; Odusina, Johnson, Liddle; Sterry, Featherstone, Holohan, Shelton, Ferguson; Oates, Armstrong

We say: Stockport County 2-1 Hartlepool United

Having gone two weeks without playing a game, there is uncertainly over how Stockport will perform on their return to action. However, home advantage could prove key, and we feel that County will hold their nerve to edge out their more inconsistent opponents.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that both teams will score (BTTS - yes) 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.BTTS Yes:data

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