By Tony Leighton
As a former Hartlepool United player, Gary Liddle is sorry to see his old club fighting an uphill battle at the wrong end of the npower League 1 table.
But, on Saturday, when he returns to Victoria Park for the first time since his move to Notts County last summer, there will be no sympathy shown by Liddle as he looks to help the Magpies collect three points towards their promotion bid while keeping Pools rooted to the bottom.
The 26-year-old midfielder-turned-defender told football-league.co.uk: "Hartlepool's result is the first one I look for every weekend and to see them in the predicament they're in at moment is very disappointing.
"I've got fond memories of my six years at the club and I've got a lot of family and friends up there, so it will be good see them this weekend. I'm also still in contact with some of the lads in the team and I'll be rooting for them in their efforts to stay up - or at least I'll be rooting for them after Saturday!
"They've got a lot of good players there and they could cause us quite a few problems, but I'll be doing everything I can to help us pick up three points."
Away-day specialists County, who have lost just once in the last 24 outings on their travels, will be favourites to beat a Hartlepool team that have lost every one of their last seven home games.
The Magpies are three places and five points below the Play-Off positions while rock-bottom Pools are 10 points short
"On paper it looks like an away banker," said Liddle, "but although Hartlepool's home form is pretty bad at the moment they've picked up some good results in away games and there's no way they'll be a pushover."
Liddle is aiming for promotion in his first season at Meadow Lane, a feat he achieved in his 2006/07 debut campaign for Pools when he helped them climb out of League 2 after joining from his first club Middlesbrough.
In the five seasons since then, the Victoria Park team have tended to toil in the lower reaches of League 1 and Liddle added: "I didn't have much success at Hartlepool after my first season, there was a lot of relegation fighting after that.
"It's nice not to be in one of those battles now and to be looking up rather than down. I'm really enjoying playing for Notts County and hopefully I can do in my first season here what I did at Hartlepool.
"I've played every minute of every league games so far, I'm really proud of that and I hope I can keep that going and be part of a successful promotion bid."
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