Dave Challinor admits he has 'no preference’ over Hartlepool United's potential play-off opponents with promotion race still up in the air

Hartlepool United will find out their play-off opponents following this weekend’s final round of National League fixtures.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 4:45 pm

With so many factors at play going into the final day of the regular 2020-21 campaign, it’s impossible to predict who Pools will end up facing in the play-offs come June.

Dave Challinor’s side can currently finish anywhere between third and fifth in the table depending on how results go on Saturday. Each position holds different permutations in terms of the club’s play-off schedule.

But with the final two play-off places still up for grabs and five teams competing to fill them, a lot remains up in the air.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Luke Armstrong of Hartlepool United celebrates after putting his team 3-0 up during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Chesterfield at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 1st May 2021. (Credit: Chris Booth | MI News)
Luke Armstrong of Hartlepool United celebrates after putting his team 3-0 up during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Chesterfield at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 1st May 2021. (Credit: Chris Booth | MI News)

Should Pools finish fourth or fifth, they could end up playing either Wrexham, Chesterfield, Eastleigh, Bromley or Halifax Town in a play-off eliminator match at Victoria Park on the weekend of June 5.

If Pools manage to claim third spot, they will bypass the eliminator round and host either Stockport County or one of the aforementioned clubs on June 13.

Fortunately, Challinor is accepting of whatever challenge comes his side’s way.

“We don’t have a preference about who we face really,” he told The Mail.

“We’re in a position where if we finish third or fourth – finish third and we’re going to play the winner of fourth versus seventh.

"That seventh place is wide open in terms of who could finish there. Whether it’s Eastleigh with a bit of a run, you look at the last game of the season where Notts play Bromley and Chesterfield play Halifax, all four of those are competing for the play-off places so one or potentially two of them will miss out.

"The games that we’ve played previously over the course of the season don’t have a huge impact in terms of what the play-off games bring.

"From our perspective, there are that many variables as to who we could end up playing, you don’t want to waste time wondering or preparing based on things that might not happen.

"We’ll focus on ourselves and see where that takes us after the Weymouth game and we’ll have a full week or maybe two to prepare for our play-off game.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Hartlepool United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor