Dave Challinor discusses his appointment as new Hartlepool United manager and his vision for the future
New Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor was officially unveiled on Monday afternoon as he spoke to the press for the first time.
Last week, it was announced that the 44-year-old was set to be appointed as Craig Hignett’s permanent successor but outstanding contractual issues with his previous employers AFC Fylde prevented him from taking immediate charge.
Challinor travelled down with the team for their ill-fated FA Cup first round tie at Yeovil Town on Saturday. The match was called off 90-minutes before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch.
Pools will now make the 660-mile round trip to Huish Park once again on Tuesday evening in what will be Challinor’s first game in charge.
The new United boss will be aided by new assistant manager Joe Parkinson who he had previously worked with at Fylde as well as Pools legend, coach and caretaker manager Antony Sweeney as part of the club’s new-look coaching staff.
When discussing what led to him joining Hartlepool, Challinor revealed: “In fairness, I got a phone call the day after I left Fylde.
“At that time I had a decision to make whether to take a break or to jump straight back in. If I’m being honest I would have selected a bit of a break but in this job, you can’t pick when your opportunities come about and when this opportunity did come about it was something that I really wanted to explore.
“The club were massively patient with us as we would have liked to get things done sooner but there were certain issues that had to be resolved and that a process you have to go through. Fortunately that’s been done now and we can get started for real now.
“As a young manager, and I’m still a youngish manager, you look at where your personal pathway might take you.
“Coming from the National League, you would say you want to look up and manage in the football league but what I told the chairman and Mark [Magiure] was that the majority of teams in League Two are just hoping to stay in the Football League.
“If I couldn’t be a Football League manager then I’d love to be a club that has possibly dropped a little bit but has real potential to get back to that stage with some momentum.”
Teams such as Luton Town, Lincoln City and Tranmere have all been promoted from the National League and managed to quickly gain another promotion in quick succession.
And while Challinor isn’t promising anything, it’s that potential that really caught his eye.
“The potential was the big draw,” he added.
“Coming back to the Notts County reassured me that was the case. On the pitch was very impressive and off the pitch was massive with the fans, the support was fantastic and hopefully we can get those happy times back here so we can get the club back to where it wants to be and where it should be in my eyes.”
A play-off challenge and promotion has been the talk since Pools were first relegated to the fifth tier back in 2017 though it has always failed to come to fruition.
The side currently sit five points outside the play-off places after 20 games and there has been a general feel around the club that this is the season where Pools can really go for it if things fall into place.
That’s yet to happen so far though the target of a play-off push remains very much on the cards.
“I’ve not been given specific targets butI wouldn’t be coming into the job if I wasn’t excited about it and I didn’t think there was potential to be successful,” Challinor added.
“When I first came to this league with Fylde, we came here sitting 19th in the table after losing 4-1 to Tranmere on Boxing day so things can turn around quickly because we put a run together and made the play-offs last season.
“With a quick assessment of the squad and where we’re at and the potential to change things and bring someone in if needed then I really do think we’ll have a real push at it.
“But there’s an awful lot of teams who will have ambitions of that but the nature of this league means if you can but a string of wins together it can have a huge difference. That’s where my ambition is, I really think it’s achievable but I think it’s tough.
"I can’t guarantee success but I can guarantee that I will give everything I can to try and make the club successful.
“We know how football works, we need to control what we can control and move the club forward.
“With expectation comes pressure, the fans have got to stick with the players, I can’t guarantee the players are going to play well every week, I can’t guarantee the players will win but I can guarantee they’ll be given everything they’ve got to try and win.
“They are a reflection of me as a person and I know they can do that so I’m looking forward to it.
“Bring on the pressure, I want to take the football club forward and give the thousands that turn up here something to cheer."