Dave Challinor discusses the difference between promotion challenging sides and Hartlepool United as he looks to bridge the gap
Hartlepool United stretched their unbeaten run to three National League matches with a 2-2 draw at Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Pools twice came from behind against the 10-man Glovers at Huish Park as headed goals from Peter Kioso and Gus Mafuta helped them secure a reasonable point on paper.
But with the side yet to really kick on in the league going into the final few months of the season, Challinor realises the importance to start turning those hard fought draws into hard fought wins sooner rather than later.
United sit five points off the final play-off place with their promotion chances looking slim though by no means impossible.
And the manager has looked at what his side need to work on in order to see themselves competing at the top.
“The margins in this division are really fine and there’s not a lot of difference between the teams,” Challinor said.
“Matches are won and lost in the penalty areas.
“As I found at my previous club, to have goalkeepers and defenders who will keep clean sheets for you and defend properly as well as someone at the other end who is going to score the goals then that’s as simple as it is.
“That’s the difference between a team who struggles, a mid-table team and a team that gets promoted.”
With no midweek games currently scheduled for the remainder of the campaign, Challinor is hoping to use the uninterrupted weeks on the training pitch to help embed his philosophies into the players.
And when discussing whether his players were up to the challenge, he added: “It’s frustrating but what can you do? Well we keep working on things and if things aren’t working with the personnel that we have then we have to look elsewhere at different things and get competition to add pressure in the right way.
“We need to be scoring and we need to be tighter at the other end.
“There’s a lot of good things that go on in between that in the midfield but it’s what happens in the penalty areas that counts.”