Hartlepool boss Dave Challinor relishing 'proper game' against Carlisle United
It’s the closest thing Hartlepool United will get to a derby this season and Dave Challinor is hoping to make the most of it.
Pools have made a solid start to life back in League Two with six points from their opening three games ahead of hosting unbeaten Carlisle United at Victoria Park this weekend (3pm kick-off).
Roughly 1,000 Carlisle supporters are expected to make the journey across the A69 this bank holiday weekend in what is likely to be the one of the largest attendances at The Vic this season.
The club have estimated around 6,000 tickets will be sold for the match – a welcome change from last season’s behind closed doors games.
“It’s not just a proper game on the pitch but off it as well in terms of the atmosphere around the ground in the lead up to the game,” Pools boss Dave Challinor said.
"It makes for a really good occasion and it’s important that we produce in the 90-minutes on the pitch and allow it to be another special day.
"To be fair, the special days from our perspective are coming every time that we’re at the ground, which from a player’s point of view is massively rewarding and long may that continue.”
At 91-miles away, Carlisle are the second closest League Two club to Pools (after Harrogate Town) and the two have a long-standing history in the Football League having met on 105 previous occasions.
Pools have won 36 of those games while Carlisle have won 51 times with 18 draws between the sides. It’s also been nine years since Pools last beat The Cumbrians with a 4-0 victory at Victoria Park.
Challinor will be hoping for a repeat result this weekend.
"It's a bit of a derby in terms of the distance and the teams we play against although it’s still almost 100 miles away as one of the closest teams,” added the Hartlepool manager.
“Carlisle will travel well and the atmosphere will be fantastic. It’s another opportunity and a big game for us to continue our home form which has been very good over the last 18 months.
"Hopefully we can produce another performance like we did in the second half against Walsall, particularly in the first 20-minutes because that was as good as we're going to be. If we bottle that and reproduce that we’ll have a great chance.”
On Carlisle, Challinor added: “There has been a bit of upheaval this summer and they’ve lost some players, certainly to Barrow.
"That may have challenged their fan base in terms of their stature as a club when people are moving to what they will feel is a smaller club than theirs.
"They’ve started steadily and we’ve looked at their games. Some of them will feel they should have won more of them so we know it will be tough but we’re in a good place ourselves.
"We know there will be certain things that we have to deal with that they’ll throw at us but on the flip side of that, we feel that we’ll be able to cause them problems in certain areas as we have with all the opposition we’ve come up against.
"Hopefully that will be the case and we can pick up another good result this weekend.”