Dave Challinor reflects on the return of 1,700 fans to Victoria Park and what it meant to the Hartlepool United squad
Dave Challinor has heaped praise on the returning Hartlepool United fans and urged the players to ‘harness the emotion and adrenaline’ from the stands.
Pools ended the regular season with a convincing 4-0 win over Weymouth in front of 1,700 supporters at The Vic with preparations now geared towards the opening play-off game against Bromley on Sunday, June 6 (2.30pm kick-off).
The Vic will once again have fans inside and Challinor has been reflecting on having supporters back inside the stadium ahead of another huge weekend as the National League play-offs get underway.
Challinor said: “It bodes well for the play-offs.
"I fully expected the supporters to be right behind the team because they’ve missed it as much as we have so to have them back in has been brilliant.
"People questioned why the game was moved and things like that, I think today proves why the game was moved.
"If we were going into a play-off game having not played in front of our supporters at all, it could have potentially been a disadvantage to us in terms of the players who haven’t played and that would have been a travesty because the supporters deserve to see their team more than once before the end of the season.
“Hopefully it’s something we all benefit from and we can take it forward into next Sunday.
“I spoke about the supporters being back because as soon as you come out for the warm up there’s huge emotion in terms of a sense of pride and all those things and there’s no better feeling.
"You’ve got to harness that emotion and that adrenaline to help your performance not hinder it.
"We did that really well. No doubt when they went back home, especially the lads who live in the house will be chatting and sharing experiences and thoughts which is great and will put them in good stead for next weekend.”
On Saturday, Ryan Johnson, Rhys Oates, Mark Shelton and Gavan Holohan were among the scorers as Pools secured their joint biggest National League win at The Vic.
Looking ahead to the play-off game, Challinor will be looking to use some of his past experiences.
He added: “I’ll do everything I can to pass on my experience in terms of being involved in these situations.
"It’s important that the players deal with it when they cross the white line and we’ll see where it takes us.
"Regardless of what happens, we’ll be better for the experience but I’ve got real belief in what we’ve got and we’re hoping this season can end specially for us.”
Victory over Weymouth saw Pools clinch fourth spot in the National League which means they now face three games if they are to win promotion this summer.
Should Pools win beat Bromley on Sunday, they will move into the semi-finals of the National League play-offs and face Stockport away before a potential final at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate against one of Notts County, Chesterfield or Torquay United on Sunday, June 20.