Wealdstone ‘no banana skin’ for top of the table Hartlepool United, insists manager Dave Challinor
Top of the table Hartlepool United travel to face 18th place Wealdstone in the National League this weekend (12:30pm kick-off).
Pools are unbeaten in 14 and going for their first promotion in 14 years while Wealdstone have won just one of their last seven matches and have little to play for with no threat of relegation this season.
It’s the type of game that Hartlepool will be expected to win on paper with bookmakers Paddy Power pricing them at 1/2 to claim three points at Grosvenor Vale.
But with Pools dropping points away at bottom four competing sides Barnet, King’s Lynn, Weymouth and Woking so far this season, manager Dave Challinor hopes his players will have learnt from their previous mistakes when they face the league’s fifth bottom side on Saturday.
“It shouldn’t be a banana skin, players shouldn’t need motivating,” he said.
“If they are thinking games aren’t as important when we’re top of the league with seven games left then they’re crazy.
"We’ve been stung previously and people outside of the football club will see where top of the league and we should be going to these places and rolling teams over, it’s not that easy by a long stretch.
"We’ve watched Wealdstone and their games are different. We saw where they were Saturday in terms of their game against Boreham Wood.
"They were right in the game but it took a sending off and two late goals to make it look like a convincing defeat without looking too much into the detail.
"In the reverse fixture at home, we dominated the game for a long-long time and should have been well out of sight when we were 3-0 up but then on another day, the last 20-minutes they caused us problems and could have got something.
"They’ve got nothing to play for except themselves, their club, their pride and contracts for next season but in terms of the league table, there’s no pressure or motivation.
"For us, there’s a lot of motivation because we’ve got ourselves in a great position with the things we’ve done.
"We’ve got to keep in control and if we do that we’ll give ourselves a good chance of winning. But I’ve been in football long enough to know it’s not going to be an easy game.”