FORMER Brighton loanee Scott Flinders returns to the South Coast tomorrow tipping his old side for promotion – but still believes Hartlepool can cause an upset against the league leaders.
The Seagulls are flying high at the top of League One with a four-point cushion over third-placed Huddersfield Town.
And Flinders, who enjoyed a successful three-month stint at the Withdean Stadium back in 2007, says Gus Poyet’s men are definitely on course for a promotion-crowning campaign.
“I enjoyed my time down there – it’s a brilliant club which is on the up and will definitely get promoted this season,” he said.
“They’re moving into a new ground next year and I think they’ll have a good go at it in the Championship as well.
“I know some good people down there so I’m looking forward to going back.
“I’m sure I’ll get a mixed reception what with being an ex Crystal Palace boy because there’s a bit of rivalry between the clubs.
“But I was there about three months under Dean Wilkins and had a decent spell which I enjoyed.
Flinders was in the stands at Victoria Park back in November as Pools ran out 3-1 victors over Albion.
And, while the 24-year-old stopper accepts he will be kept on his toes during tomorrow’s encounter, he nonetheless believes Pools have proved they have the capacity to upset the big guns.
“I’m expecting a busy afternoon but hopefully I can keep another clean sheet like we did against Colchester,” he said.
“They’re a very good team, obviously, but we can win because I think we play better against the better sides, like we did at home.”
Flinders returned from a four-month thumb-ligament absence during last week’s 4-0 mauling at Oldham – a result which prompted showdown talks between the players.
And the Rotherham-born ace, who kept a clean sheet during the subsequent 1-0 win over Colchester, added: “We came in last Wednesday and had a bit of a heart-to-heart between all the lads and the manager about where we wanted to go this season.
“And it showed that we wanted to grind out that win and it was a result that we needed.
“But there’s only so much you can do as a keeper so it’s a great relief to see the lads score.
“We’d defended so well throughout the game and Sweens (Antony Sweeeney) scored a fantastic goal so it was such a good feeling to go into the changing room after the game – that’s the sort of feeling you miss when you’re out.”
Wadsworth could recall both Leon McSweeney and Andy Monkhouse should he choose to revert to a 4-5-1 system, while Steve Haslam will continue to deputise for the injured Neil Austin.