Dave Challinor discusses Stockport County supporters and why Hartlepool United are 'second favourites' going into National League play-off semi-final

Hartlepool United travel to Stockport County this Sunday (12pm kick-off) with a place in the National League play-off final at stake.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 12:30 pm

Dave Challinor’s side will be looking to carry on the momentum from their 3-2 play-off eliminator round win over Bromley at Victoria Park last weekend.

Pools face a Hatters side who are 18 unbeaten and finished a point above them in the table to secure third place and a home semi-final at Edgeley Park.

“It’s a tough game,” Challinor said. “If anyone needs any reminders of what the play-offs bring then they only need to look at the last four weeks in terms of the Football League and our play-offs.

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Hartlepool manager, Dave Challinor during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Maidenhead United at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 8th May 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

"Anything can happen, there are so many emotions you go through. It’s wide open, we go there not as underdogs as such but certainly as second favourites in terms of Stockport are at home and have solely a home crowd.

"But we go there looking to win and confident we can win.”

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Due to coronavirus and social distancing restrictions remaining in place, a limited home crowd will be in attendance but no Poolies will be able to watch the game live at the stadium.

“There will be 2,500 inside the ground, there won’t be any Pools fans inside but I imagine there could be quite a lot outside the ground,” Challinor added.

"It doesn’t matter, we have to use the fact that winning means we would play in front of our fans in what will be the biggest game this club has had for a long time as motivation. Hopefully that’s motivation for us to do our best and get us over the line.”

The victors on Sunday will go on to play either Torquay United or Notts County in the play-off final at Ashton Gate on June 20 (2pm kick-off).

While Pools faced Bromley last weekend, Stockport have gone almost a fortnight since their last competitive game.

“Obviously I’d like to say that we’d prefer to be in our situation where we haven’t had a break and they’ll be terrible,” Challinor continued.

“In reality, they will be rested, recuperated and fresh but it will be a tough game and we’re carrying some momentum into it so we’ll see what next Sunday brings – we’re really looking forward to it.”

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