Dave Challinor reflects on Hartlepool United's whirlwind pre-season and focuses on League Two opener against Crawley

Dave Challinor reflected on a “whirlwind” pre-season schedule and turned quickly turned his focus towards Hartlepool United’s return to the Football League.

By Mark Carruthers
Monday, 2nd August 2021, 6:00 am

Just 27 days separated the dramatic National League promotion final win against Torquay United and Pools opening friendly at Runcorn Linnets.

Since the 9-1 demolition of the Northern Premier League West Division side, Challinor’s men have fell to a trio of defeats against National League North clubs Blyth Spartans, Gateshead and Spennymoor Town.

They rounded off their preparations for the new season on a more positive result and performance after easing to a 5-0 win at Northern Premier League side Dunston UTS on Friday night.

Hartlepool United boss Dave Challinor.

With five hastily arranged pre-season fixtures inside a fortnight, and an ongoing push for new additions to his squad, Challinor admitted that it had been a “manic” period as he looks forward to Saturday’s League Two opener against Crawley.

He told The Mail: “Pre-season is normally long, drawn-out, you feel like you’ve been there for ages.

“This pre-season has been a whirlwind if I am honest.

“I will probably look back next year, when we do have an eight-week pre-season and go, I quite enjoy these long pre-seasons, it’s not too bad.

“This has been manic, but as I have said before, it’s a result or a consequence of a really good event as we are back as a Football League club.

“It has been tough, but we will take that, not use it as an excuse, use it as a positive and look forward to Saturday.”

The defeats at Blyth, Gateshead and Spennymoor – coupled with a need for new signings – have caused some concern amongst the Pools faithful as they look forward to the long-awaited return to the Football League.

Challinor admitted he understands those concerns but is now solely focused on getting an opening day win, regardless of whether new signings are completed in time for the meeting with the Red Devils.

“You have to take things from pre-season, absolutely,” he explained.

“Supporters and people outside of the club are bound to worry and bound to be concerned.

“The one thing is for certain, if we beat Crawley on Saturday, there are no concerns.”

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