Hartlepool United's ‘next target’ in National League promotion race

Hartlepool United have three games left to seal their fate in the National League.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 6:00 am

Following back to back defeats against Bromley and Maidenhead United, Pools’ title hopes are effectively over, but they still have a lot to play for.

Dave Challinor’s side currently sit fourth in the National League table and remain within touching distance of a top three place and a coveted home play-off semi-final match.

Failure to finish in the top three means Hartlepool would have to take part in a play-off eliminator match at Victoria Park in order to progress to the semi-final – a route that is yet to see a side earn promotion from the fifth tier.

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George Wells of Maidenhead United blocks a shot from Hartlepool United's Jamie Sterry during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Maidenhead United at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 8th May 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

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“Of course, finishing third has always been our next target,” Challinor said. "Getting the play-off place was our first target, top three is our next target and then you look to winning the league after. You’re not going to get to the third one without first bypassing the second one.

"Hopefully by the last game of the season we can finish in that spot. If not, then it is what it is and we take our medicine.

"If we finish fourth, we’ve got to win a play-off game here and then go to Sutton, Torquay or Stockport and win a game and then we’ve got to win a final at a neutral venue.

"It’s not out of the unknown, it’s something that we’ll look forward to when it comes around.”

Next up for Hartlepool is a trip to Aldershot Town on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off) as they look to bounce back from a couple of disappointing results.

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