FIVE key dates for Hartlepool United and Richard Money's diary

Michael Woods will face his old club on Saturday, January 19.
Michael Woods will face his old club on Saturday, January 19.

Richard Money might have only been in the Hartlepool United hotseat for a month, but the next four weeks could make or break his first campaign in charge.

Here we take a look at FIVE key dates for the manager's diary.

Saturday, January 19 - Could former midfielder haunt Pools?

Hartlepool could face one of their former midfielders a week on Saturday with Michael Woods likely to be involved, at some point, for Harrogate Town.

It is fair to say the player, who spent four years at Victoria Park, has not had the best of starts to life back at the club where Pools picked him up from.

The likeable 28-year-old has started just two games, coming off the bench a further seven times for Town. He scored on debut against Braintree Town on November 24.

Woods made more than 150 appearances for Pools. He scored 11 goals in 40 appearances last season.

READ MORE: Richard Money reveals fans may not see the best of his Hartlepool United team for TEN days

Tuesday, January 22 - The return of the old enemy

It's been a long while since Hartlepool United have met rivals Darlington - they will do so, though in just a few weeks at Blackwell Meadows (7.30pm kick off).

It might not quite be the derby everyone hopes for - it is only in the Durham Challenge Cup - but this can be viewed as not only fans to get excited and renew old rivalries but also a fantastic opportunity for Richard Money, too.

Pools do not have a reserve team, so any game at that level has to be welcomed with open arms. This competition is regarded as a secondary competition by the club, and rightly so, on normal occasions. But due to the opposition this one is a little different.

Expect to see a smattering of first-team players get gametime in this clash, which I am sure National League North strugglers Darlo will use to do the same.

Much like Sunderland's clash with Newcastle United under-23s in the Checkatrade Trophy - this is the one no one will want to lose, no matter the stature of the competition.

CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE LATEST HARTLEPOOL UNITED NEWS

Saturday, January 26 - Opportunity to end home blues

Hartlepool's home record is far from glittering.

Pools looked to have banished their Super 6 Stadium blues with a win over Gateshead, albeit and illness and injury depleted Heed, on New Year's Day.

That all came crashing down when a more than winnable weekend against Maidstone United proved yet another fifth tier banana skin.

Pools take on Braintree Town at the Vic a fortnight on Saturday - and if the top seven is to remain a distant dream and not a memory, they need to pull their finger out on home turf.

READ MORE: Hartlepool United analysis - SEVEN plus points for Richard Money to take from first month at Pools

Thursday, January 31 - The closure of the transfer window in England

As well all know the transfer window does not apply in the National League.

But that has not stopped manager Money making this particular window a key one for Pools.

The 63-year-old believes Pools have their best chance to add the right kind of player to their ranks before the window, which applies to the Football League and Premier League, closes at 11pm on Thursday, January 31.

Money has expressed the need to add players, with a winger, or two, on the radar as well as a central defender to replace departed Andrew Davies and a central midfielder thought to feature prominently on a lengthy winter wishlist. A striker would not go amiss, too.

READ MORE: Hartlepool United transfer latest as Richard Money eyes January new recruits

Saturday, February 2 - Possibly a day that's make or break for Pools' season

By the turn of the month we will probably have a much better idea whether Pools are set to make a seemingly unlikely late charge for the National League play offs or whether their dreams, for another year at least, look to have been shelved.

Should the latter be the case the Buildbase FA Trophy comes to the fore in a big way.

If Pools find themselves playing in a third round tie on this date, they've obviously navigated their way past AFC Telford this weekend and their Wembley dream remains alive.

Money has won this tournament before with Cambridge United (and Ryan Donaldson) and has his sights set on another go at silverware under the arch.

If Pools find themselves taking on Ebbsfleet United away that day, their season could well be staring down the barrel of another write off.