Dave Challinor eyes striker signings as Hartlepool United boss discusses pre-season challenges after Runcorn Linnets win

Dave Challinor wants to sign four more forward players ahead of the new season and admits the quick turnaround has been challenging following Hartlepool’s promotion from the National League.
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Just four weeks after their dramatic win over Torquay in the play-off final, Pools played their first pre-season friendly against Runcorn Linnets as they prepare for a League Two opener against Crawley on Saturday, August 7.

Since the end of last season Pools have lost a handful of key players, with the departures of strikers Luke Armstrong and Rhys Oates leaving them short of options up front.

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Challinor named two XIs in each half in the 9-1 win at Runcorn, who play in the eighth tier of English football, with nine trialists featuring in total.

Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor.Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor.
Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor.

One of the trialists was former Port Vale striker Mark Cullen, who netted the third goal, and Pools are hopeful a deal can be agreed to sign the 29-year-old.

Talks are also ongoing with attacker Luke Molyneux over a new contract, yet Challinor knows more offensive players are needed.

When asked how many more forwards he thinks the squad needs, Challinor told the Mail: “From where we are now we definitely need four minimum.

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“Potentially with Culls as one, with Mols, he wasn’t here today, even with those we definitely need at least three and that’s what we are trying to target.”

On the challenges of a shortened off-season, the Pools boss added: “Listen it’s not great. We spoke about just where we are and normally you would build into a pre-season and it would be a first 45 minutes, almost testimonial type games without it sounding the wrong way.

“We can’t afford to do that, three weeks today we start so it’s a case of us getting out of that what we need to get out of it.

“For some lads they were desperate for the minutes in terms of fitness and they were a little bit short.

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“For others you are just restarting really and dusting the cobwebs off because they have played and haven’t lost their sort of core fitness.”

"We have got lads at different stages but we are almost at a countdown so it does become more pivotal in terms of what we get out of the games.”

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