BY Stephen Burton
Blyth Spartans’ pre-season continues on Tuesday evening as newly-promoted League Two side Hartlepool United make the trip to Croft Park.
Last time out, Michael Nelson’s side narrowly lost 2-1 at home to South Shields in the CEFO CFS Challenge Trophy, though Karl Byrne continued his surprise goalscoring form with his third strike in as many games.
- We ask all supporters to buy tickets in advance via our online system if possible.
- If you do not have online access, you can purchase your ticket by ringing the club office 01670 352373 and paying with a debit or credit card. Your ticket can then be collected from the social club on match day.
- Season ticket holders receive free admission to all pre-season matches. If you have not collected your season ticket yet this can be done at the club office between 9am and 12pm on Thursday or Friday.
- If this is not possible, they will be available for collection from the clubhouse before the game.
- We will operate a cash turnstile for this match at the Kingsway end of the ground. However, if possible, please purchase your ticket in advance.
- Tickets purchased in advance must be printed or stored on your phone. Without proof of ticket, you will not be permitted into Croft Park.
Dave Challinor’s side returned to the Football League after a dramatic penalty shootout against Torquay United in the National League play-off final in May.
This will be Pools’ fourth outing so far in pre-season but they’ve had a mixed set of results.
A 9-1 win at Runcorn Linnets was followed by defeats against National League North sides Spennymoor and Gateshead.
Spartans boss Michael Nelson and assistant manager Michael Barron will, of course, be no stranger to Pools fans having made 680 appearances for the club between them.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Despite the defeat to Shields, Nelson was pleased with how his side’s fitness was improving: “I thought we finished the game stronger. Up against a full-time team, that’s good going by the lads.
“Fitness doesn’t seem to be an issue with the majority of the group. By no means is the starting eleven picked for the start of the season, there’s a lot of decisions to be made.
“Hopefully over the next few games the lads will make Micky and I think hard for the team on the first game of the season.”
Spartans captain Nathan Buddle also spoke about wearing the armband for the first time: “It’s massive.
“It’s a huge honour for me to be captain of this football club. There’s no hiding the way I feel about the club.”
WHERE THEY’RE SAYING
Captain Nicky Featherstone spoke after Pools’ heavy defeat to Gateshead and said: “I’ve had good and bad pre-seasons but ultimately what matters is the first game of the season.
“They don’t really play much part in how the season goes. As long as we’ve managed to take something away from this and work on the things we’re struggling with, then it shouldn’t affect the first game of the season.”
THE LAST TIME WE MET
Hartlepool last visited Croft Park in September last year, with a brace from Connor Thomson helping Spartans come from behind to draw 2-2.
The clash will also evoke memories of Spartans’ famous FA Cup win at Victoria Park in 2014.
A free-kick from Stephen Turnbull and a last-minute winner from Jarrett Rivers booked Blyth a spot in the third round at home to Birmingham City.
Blyth Live will go on air at 6:45pm with Mark Carruthers and Phil Castiaux.
You can also follow the game via our social media platforms.
The game will be filmed for highlights to be uploaded onto BSAFCTV.