Dave Challinor issues FA Cup warning to Hartlepool United squad ahead of Eastleigh visit
Dave Challinor has warned his Hartlepool United squad not to let the FA Cup disappointment affect them heading into a crunch National League fixture.
Pools – beaten 4-1 away at League One Oxford United in the cup on Saturday - are back in action tonight against Eastleigh at Victoria Park (KO 7.45pm).
Challinor is proud of his players’ efforts in the FA Cup this season but now wants their focus fully on the league campaign.
Challinor, reflecting on the FA Cup run, said: “I’ll look back on this cup run with some fondness of course.
“My first game here was in the FA Cup at Yeovil which was great.
“Then to beat a high-flying League Two team was brilliant and it’s unfortunate we’ve been undone by a high-flying League One team.
“It’s my first experience of the third round as a manager and I would have loved to have won not only for personal reasons but mainly for the club and what it can do.
“The most important thing is that this doesn’t knock our confidence or affect us going into the Eastleigh game.
“Tuesday is a bigger game than what Saturday was.
“This month was always going to be massive anyway and with Eastleigh at home, Dover away, Yeovil away, Stockport at home, we’ve got a tough run of games and we’ve got to win some games and put a run together, we’re very aware of that.”
Meanwhile, Nicky Featherstone agrees at some point Pools must string together a run of wins if they are to push into the play-off places.
Ahead of tonight’s game, Featherstone added: “At some point we’ve got to put a run together.
“We keep talking about our goals for the season, play-offs and how we’re not far away but the reality is that we’re not consistent enough to really push for that at the moment so we need to put a run together and really use those games in hand to climb the table and put us back in the mix.”
Pools have one additional injury concern, Kenton Richardson was forced off with an ankle injury during the 4-1 FA Cup third round defeat at Oxford United on Saturday.