PREVIEW: Hartlepool (A)

County make the 279-mile trip to Victoria Park on Friday in superb league form, as a 5-0 win over Stevenage on October 30 extended our unbeaten run in the league to six games.

James Rowberry has an early 100% record in League Two as County manager, with that thrashing of Stevenage coming after a 3-1 victory at near-neighbours Bristol Rovers in his first game in charge.

The Exiles need to respond from some disappointment this week though, following defeats to Morecambe and Swindon in the FA Cup and the EFL Trophy respectively, with focus around Rodney Parade now fully on achieving its aims in League Two.

Hosts Hartlepool are in a transitional phase after manager Dave Challinor recently departed the club for ambitious National League outfit Stockport County. Caretaker manager Antony Sweeney has not lost either of his two games in temporary charge of the Pools, with a 1-0 win over Everton's U21s in the EFL Trophy being followed up by a 2-2 draw at League One Wycombe in the FA Cup.

The two sides are level on 23 points in League Two after 15 games but County's superior goal difference of 7 compared to Hartlepool's -3 has County in 8th with Hartlepool in 10th.

United need a pick-me-up in the league as, while County go into the game off the back of a 5-0 win, on the same weekend, Hartlepool lost 5-0 at Leyton Orient. Hartlepool's home form will be envied by many though, as they are unbeaten at Victoria Park so far this season and have won 19 of their last 24 matches at home.

Hartlepool will be without Gavin Holohan through injury while Jamie Sterry has been labelled "touch and go" ahead of the Friday night football in County Durham.