Dave Challinor outlines obvious points target for Hartlepool United in final four games of National League title challenge
Dave Challinor believes Hartlepool United are still in the National League title race but admitted there is no room for error in their final four games.
Pools will secure a play-off place with victory over Maidenhead United this weekend, a draw may also be good enough but the sides ambitions reach higher than simply securing a top seven spot.
Hartlepool have spent all of 2021 in the top four in the National League table and are still in with an outside chance of securing a first ever league title with four games remaining. But after Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Bromley, it’s going to be a big ask.
Outlining his side’s target for the remainder of the season, Challinor told The Mail: “There wasn’t much margin for error anyway and there certainly isn’t now but we know where we are and what we have to do.
"Not a great deal has changed, the only difference is we can’t get 85 points now, we can only get 82 by winning our remaining games. That’s our target and that’s what we’ll try and get.”
Pools currently sit fourth in the table, the highest league position that doesn’t guarantee promotion or a play-off semi-final.
They sit just behind Stockport County in third while Sutton United and Torquay compete for top spot as it stands.
Finishing second or third would see Hartlepool host a play-off semi-final match against a lower ranked side while finishing fourth means another game before a potential semi-final away at either Sutton, Torquay or Stockport.
And the Pools boss knows what he’d prefer.
“There are four teams battling out for three spaces,” Challinor added.
“Everyone wants to finish number one but if you can’t do that then two or three is the next best which leaves one slightly disappointed side in fourth.
"That team then has to win three play-off games to get out of the division. We’re still competing and we’ll give everything we’ve got so the end of one run has to be the start of another one for us.
"We’ll go to The Vic at the weekend looking to win and we’ve still got momentum behind us which we’ll be looking to take forward into the games at Aldershot, Sutton, Weymouth or potential play-off games beyond that.”