Hartlepool United could confirm top four finish in the National League tonight with Wrexham set to host Notts County in crucial play-off clash

Hartlepool United have spent almost all of 2021 in the top four positions in the National League – tonight they could finally secure their place in the top four without even playing.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 5:20 pm

Pools are already guaranteed a home play-off match at Victoria Park but tonight’s big National League fixture between Wrexham and Notts County could see them seal a top four spot.

Wrexham and Notts both sit nine points behind Pools with three games remaining ahead of this evening’s match (7pm kick-off) at The Racecourse Ground. Wrexham sit fifth, a point inside the play-off places with a slight goal difference advantage on The Magpies in sixth.

With the sides going head to head, only one of them could still conceivably catch Pools in the league this season.

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A general view of a match ball during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Maidenhead United at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 8th May 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

But if the game finishes level, neither side would be able to overtake Hartlepool in the final two league matches, ensuring a top four finish for Dave Challinor’s side.

Whoever wins tonight’s match between Wrexham and Notts County would go a long way to ensuring a play-off place.

Pools and Stockport County are the only sides currently guaranteed to be competing in the play-offs come June with Sutton United and Torquay United still fighting for the title.

Chesterfield (7th), Bromley (8th) and Halifax Town (9th) are all within two points of Notts County and Wrexham in the hunt for the play-offs while 10th placed Eastleigh are four points adrift of the top seven but have two games in hand. The Spitfires travel to Aldershot Town this evening (7:45pm kick-off).

As for Pools, finishing fourth doesn’t provide any obvious advantage over finishing fifth as the club would still have to win a home play-off eliminator round match.

The only difference is it would be against the side finishing in seventh opposed to sixth in order to progress through to an away semi-final fixture.

Should Pools finish fourth, their play-off eliminator round match would take place on Sunday, June 6 (4pm kick-off) at Victoria Park.

A third place finish would crucially see the club bypass the eliminator round match and host the winners of the fourth v seventh match at The Vic on Sunday, June 13 (12pm kick-off).

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