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Boro looking to bounce back

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Stevenage must put a troubled period behind them when beginning life back in League Two with a home tie against Hartlepool at Broadhall Way.

Graham Westley's side lasted three seasons in League One but a closing run of just one win in 12 games saw them finish bottom of the table in May.

Influential players such as Luke Freeman and James Dunne have since moved on, but there have been new arrivals like experienced Braintree defender Dean Wells, while Ron Henry returns from Luton.

Striker Adam Marriott, Simon Walton and Chris Whelpdale will also be keen to make their mark at the club, while new goalkeeper Sam Beasant links up with his dad Dave on the coaching staff.

Hartlepool's two summer recruits Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby are both expected to make their competitive bows for the club.

Defender Bates and utility-man Parnaby, former team-mates at Middlesbrough, could both start in Pools' opening game, while boss Colin Cooper has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Midfielder Jonathan Franks is in contention to start having impressed during pre-season as are striker Luke James and defender Michael Duckworth, who both signed new deals with the club during the summer.

Young midfielder Brad Walker and veteran forward Marlon Harewood also look set to start for Pools, who are bidding to climb back into Sky Bet League One at the second attempt after relegation in 2013.

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