Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor explains why 15th placed Aldershot Town 'still have something to play for' this season
Hartlepool United make the trip down to face Aldershot Town this Saturday (3pm kick-off) looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats.
The title is out of reach and a play-off place is effectively confirmed but Pools still have a lot to play for going into the game as they look to secure a coveted top three spot.
They face an Aldershot side that on paper seem to have little to play for. They sit 15th in the table with 51 points and four games to play.
But Dave Challinor was adamant The Shots players have more than just pride on the line when they host his side this weekend.
“It’s easy to say, and the reality of their league position would suggest they’ve not got a great deal to play for,” the Hartlepool manager said.
“But from the players’ perspective, I imagine the majority of if not all of them are out of contract in the summer and looking to secure contracts for next season.
"For the ones who have got a contract for next year then maybe you could say they haven’t got a great deal to play for but I certainly think there will be a lot who will be looking to get their futures secured in what could be an uncertain market during the summer with lots of players out of contract.
“It is an uncertain time and the players will want to make sure they’re putting in a performance that earns them a contract either at Aldershot or elsewhere.
"You can see that from the results they’ve had because they’ve had a pick up in terms of their results. From a personal pride perspective, they’ll want to finish as high up as they can and winning games at the end of the season can make a big difference.”
Pools haven’t played Aldershot since the opening day of the season with a late Gavan Holohan header securing a 2-1 win for Challinor’s side at Victoria Park.
The Shots go into the game on the back of a 2-0 win over Yeovil Town while Hartlepool are looking to bounce back from a couple of disappointing defeats against Bromley and Maidenhead United.
“We know what to expect and for us it’s about doing what we do and it’s our first opportunity to get the mistakes out of our system that we made at the weekend [against Maidenhead],” Challinor told The Mail.
“They’ve changed a little bit over the course of the season like almost every team has over the course of the season. We played them first game and now almost last game so there’s almost a full season in between us playing.
"They’re on a decent run and it’s always a difficult place to go but we know what we’re up against. For us it’s about concentrating on ourselves but also looking at their strengths and weaknesses and where they’ve had joy.
"They’ll certainly try and play and they’ve got goals in their team. In the grand scheme of things, although the last two results have been disappointing for us, we’re on a great run ourselves and we’ve got to make sure that continues.”