In-form Hartlepool United will look to make it four wins from four games this weekend as they battle to make a long-awaited return to the Football League.
Pools have been in the National League since a heartbreaking relegation in 2017 ended a 96-year stay in the EFL. United are currently in second place in the table and take on 14th placed Wealdstone at Victoria Park on Saturday.
In-Form Hartlepool United Desperate for Football League Return
Back in Action Following Postponement
United will be back in action for the first time this year as they look to close the gap at the top of the league. The fixture against Halifax Town was postponed due to a frozen pitch, meaning Dave Challinor’s men have not played since December.
Despite being disappointed that the Halifax game did not go ahead, it allowed several players to recover from knocks received over the festive period. Speaking before this Saturday’s game, Challinor told United’s official website his thoughts: “We have had a little time off but we are raring to go. It is an important few days for us in terms of Saturday and then Tuesday’s rearranged game.
“We were a little disappointed to see the Halifax fixture postponed but you can look at it both ways. Ferguson would have missed out and a few lads would have been carrying little injuries”.
Manager Keen to Bring in Players to Keep In-Form Hartlepool on Track
Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor is keen to strengthen his squad this month and is looking to dip into the transfer market to keep his in-form team on track for a promotion push. Speaking to the Hartlepool Mail, Challinor said: “We’re not restricted by our own window but what does happen in January is the Football League clubs have more freedom to bring players in which works both ways.
“We’ve enquired about players in November and December but clubs were unwilling to let them out because of them not being able to bring in replacements themselves but that’s obviously changed now.
“We’re constantly looking to improve but with that there’s a balance in terms of the players we’ve got, the budget we’ve got and players getting games.”
A Proud but Tough History
Formed in 1908, Hartlepool were elected to the Football League in 1921. Despite never playing higher than England’s third tier, The Monkey Hangers were England’s great escape specialist. Until their relegation in 2017, Pools had lasted 96 years without being relegated from the EFL, despite coming close on many occasions.
Fourteen re-elections were won prior to automatic relegation being brought in during the 1980s. Since then, United flirted briefly with success reaching the League One play-off final but ultimately failed to gain promotion. However, for the majority of the time the club have struggled and finally lost their place in the league following a heartbreaking last day on the 2016/17 season. Hartlepool need to win and hope rivals Newport County failed in their game. United did all they could do and won, but an 89th minute Newport goal condemned the North-East club to the National League for the first time.
Now in second place, Dave Challinor’s men are in-form in a close League were every win counts. Pools fans may feel that this is their best chance since relegation to get back to the Football League where they belong.