Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor discusses how National League strugglers Barnet will have their mindset changed with no threat of relegation

Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor feels the lack of relegation from the National League could relieve a lot of pressure from clubs down at the wrong end of the table.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 12:16 pm

This Saturday, Pools host a Barnet side currently sitting second bottom in the table with just three wins all season and the worst goal difference in the division.

Last season, The Bees were catapulted into the play-offs on points per game before losing out to Notts County in the semi-final.

This season has been a different story as they’ve struggled since the very start yet they are likely to benefit from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic once again as the National League North and South seasons were declared null and void and relegations to the sixth tier scrapped, pending ratification.

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Dave Challinor speaking via Zoom ahead of Hartlepool United's National League match at home to Barnet.

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“I’m very surprised,” Challinor said discussing Barnet’s poor run of form.

“The first thing we do is look at their players and they’ve got a strong squad but it shows the fragility of squads and it’s a difficult thing to stop when you’re losing. That team is completely different if they’re winning.

"We talk about building momentum with wins but you can build the wrong sort of momentum with defeats. We’ve got to jump all over them from the start.

“But with no fear of relegation, that may change things for them.”

Challinor added: “It can change the dynamic of games. Having been there, you know when you’re playing at the bottom of the league, the threat of relegation is a dark cloud that hangs over players and the club as a whole.

"The dynamics of a football club with a pending relegation can completely change. People could be made redundant, the squad can change entirely so it can have massive implications on a football club.

"At the moment, there’s no relegation but that’s still yet to be ratified so to some degree it’s hanging over Barnet.

"But even if it’s just a glimmer of hope of relegation not taking place then it will absolutely change their mindset and what happens.

"It becomes a free hit and relieves a lot of pressure.”

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