Dave Challinor's brutal verdict as Hartlepool United lose 1-0 at Spennymoor Town in pre-season
Pre-season is more than just about fitness for Dave Challinor, as his Hartlepool United players were quickly reminded of following Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Spennymoor Town.
Frank Mulhern’s 10th minute header saw the National League North hosts secure a narrow victory over their League Two counterparts.
Pools had several trialists on show but Challinor said it will be the last time some of them feature for the club following the performance at the Brewery Field.
“I could say it’s about fitness but I’m not happy at all, I wasn’t happy at half-time,” he said. “It doesn’t make a difference if it’s pre-season, it’s about winning football matches.
"Granted we started with an unfamiliar team but that doesn’t hide from the fact that I’m not happy.
"All of them had something to play for, signed players are playing to start on August 7 and the trialists are playing for their career.
"It tells me a lot about what was on the pitch and for some of them maybe it isn’t too much of an honour to wear a Hartlepool shirt but for some of them that will be the last time they wear it, simple as that.
"They’re playing for contracts and they’re nowhere near earning one. The players know in no uncertain terms how I feel about it because we were miles off it.
“We got better when we brought the players on with half an hour to go who are more accustomed to how we play.
"I’ve said there, we could be 1-0 down against Crawley opening game of the season, are we going to do what we did here and play the game out at a whimper and lose 1-0 or are we going to play the ball forward and put them under pressure?
“Play the game like it’s a league game, not a pre-season friendly. Regardless of what is riding on it, play to win and do everything you can to do win.
"Too many have the mindset that it’s pre-season and all about getting minutes in the bank.
“Of course it’s about fitness and ticking things off but if you don’t perform in pre-season then you’ll be sat watching football matches all through August and September.”