NOBBY SMILES FOR BIG FAN JEFF; Have heart in Hartlepool.



Byline: KEVIN PRICE; JOHN CURLE

JEFF STELLING, the guru of Saturday sports telly is like most football fans...a born pessimist at heart.

He may be the awardwinning, polished host of Gillette Soccer Saturday brilliantly juggling an afternoon of frantic live action.

But as Hartlepool's most famous fan..he's usually expecting the worst when the goal-lines start flashing up.

His rat-a-tat shotgun delivery of the latest scores and stats goes starkly silent when there's talk of a Hartlepool score flash.

The schoolboy antics from the panel of ex-players, oohing and aahing in unison if a goal goes in at the match involving his beloved "Pools" only serves to fuel his paranoia.

Well, we've got a message for Jeff. Relax mate, we reckon your boys are on a winner this weekend.

Granted, Hartlepool have a tricky assignment at Notts County but Hartlepool have become a highly resilient team this season.

Unbeaten on their travels so far, Mick Wadsworth's men have notched up victories at Carlisle, Rochdale and Bournemouth. With former Newcastle legend Nobby Solano acting as father-figure to the team, Hartlepool have become a tough but talented outfit.

Jeff won't even have to squirm through his show today - his brave lads aren't playing until tomorrow and what's more they're live on Sky.

But what really caught our eye was that Hartlepool are a whopping 3/1 with Victor Chandler to win at Meadow Lane. Now that does make us feel good.

Down into League Two we've been keeping an eye on two in-form teams - Oxford and Cheltenham.

The boys from the Kassam have recoved from an unspectacular start to show some real form.

They're unbeaten in six - and thanks to goal poacher Robert Hall - on loan from West Ham - they're now finding the net regularly.

Oxford should take care of erratic Bristol Rovers. They are best-priced 10/11.

We've been equally impressed with Cheltenham who should see off the Daggers. They should be odds on but VC Bet and Bet365 offer them at 13/10.

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PERU & PERUSE NOBBY Solano can make it a happy day for stats-mad Jeff

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