Hartlepool must not get buried in the 'Football League graveyard' after relegation - Padraig Amond

Padraig Amond is embraced by a fan at the final whistle
Padraig Amond is embraced by a fan at the final whistle

Padraig Amond fears Hartlepool are at risk of being buried in the 'big club' graveyard that is the National League.

The Irishman says you just have to look at the likes of York City, Tranmere and Wrexham for examples of where relegation from League Two can prove a disastrous affair.

And he's praying the same fate does not befall Pools.

Amond has been almost blameless in Pools dismal season, which ended in dramatic fashion last night - a 2-1 win over promoted Doncaster proving futile as Newport scored a 90th minute winner at Rodney Parade to ensure it is them who will remain in the League Two mix next campaign.

But he, like the rest of the Victoria Park squad, woke up this morning to the stark reality that Hartlepool will next year, after 96 in the league, be plying their trade in England's fifth tier.

And having had a stint at that level for Grimsby the season before last, Amond knows more than most just how difficult life can be down there.

"It has taken Grimsby years to get out of there," said 29-year-old Amond, who netted 14 goals in 37 League Two starts for Pools.

"You have Wrexham, Tranmere, York City, who have gone again - all big, big clubs.

"Clubs who have been a fixture of the Football League get stuck down there. If you go out it is very difficult.

"The hardest thing about the National League is that only one team goes up automatically.

"Tranmere have got 95 points this year and could easily lose in the play-offs and not up this year."

One automatic promotion place and then one other for the team that best navigates the end of season play-off is only the start of where things get difficult in the National League, according to Amond.

"You play lots of games. You play lots of those games against teams who have no support. In there they have a lot of Southern teams," he explained.

"It will be hard for them - the fans. All the travelling.

"For a player it is not an easy league to play in.

"It is not a passing league, all the defenders purely kick it and head it."

Amond is under no illusions just how hard it will be for Pools to get back where they belong.

He added: "It is going to be a tough ask to bounce back."