Hartlepool United hoping to end season in style as around 900 Poolies prepare to descend on Dorking Wanderers dressed as the Blues Brothers

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Hartlepool United are looking to end a tumultuous season on a high note as Pools prepare to travel to relegated Dorking Wanderers on Saturday.

Whatever happens on the pitch, the travelling Poolies will ensure their side end the season in style, with supporters dressing up as the Blues Brothers as part of their annual fancy dress tradition.

Dorking, meanwhile, have added their own unique colour to the National League, punching well above their weight since their promotion in 2022.

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However, their two-year spell came to an end following a 1-1 draw with Rochdale on Saturday, meaning outspoken owner and manager Marc White and his side will return to the National League South next season.

Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as The Blues Brothers.Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as The Blues Brothers.
Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi as The Blues Brothers.

The Surrey side could be forgiven for still nursing a relegation hangover, but Pools themselves will arrive at Meadowbank with nothing to play for other than pride.

However, Kevin Phillips professed his determination to ensure that his team doesn't disappoint the 900 supporters expected to make the long trip south.

Fortunately for Phillips and his side, the famous fancy dress tradition means that the football comes second in the eyes of a lot of supporters, and so Pools can afford to take the handbrake of the Bluesmobile and express themselves on Dorking's artificial surface.

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Despite having to deal with a depleted squad, impressive cameos from academy stars Campbell Darcy, Max Storey and Alfie Steel in recent weeks presents the Pools boss with a chance to hand more minutes to the teenage trio.

What Pools must seek to do is put on a performance that the travelling fans deserve.

Pools have delivered some fairly underwhelming displays on the fancy dress weekend, with dispirited stormtroopers seeing their side ship five at Plymouth and more than 1,000 knights watching their team fail to muster a shot on target in a miserable defeat to Barrow.

Phillips managed to produce a reaction from his side following a lacklustre first half showing in Saturday's draw with Dagenham & Redbridge and he'll be demanding that Pools show similar spirit again this weekend.

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The Pools boss is very limited in terms of what he can do with regards to personnel, but the fanfare in the away end should be enough to inspire his players to produce one more performance before setting off on their summer holidays.

Phillips has already warned that the break needs to be as much about balance as beaches, with new strength and conditioning coach Lee Moore set to issue individual fitness plans for the off-season.

While the Blues Brothers might be remembered for their famous line 'we're putting the band back together', Phillips is set for more of an overhaul than a rebuild, and Saturday's trip will likely be a final swansong for a number of the current players.

The challenge will be to motivate them, while ensuring the core that are set to remain can take some momentum into the next season as Pools look to mount a play-off push.

Pools will set off in the direction of Surrey determined to finish the season with a flourish, both on and off the pitch.

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