Dave Challinor has challenged his Hartlepool United players to handle the environment of Sunday’s National League play-off semi final against Stockport County.
Pools have overcome one hurdle in the play-offs beating Bromley last weekend and face County at Edgeley Park for a place in the final at Ashton Gate.
Both teams go into the game with form behind them. Pools recently went on a 16 match unbeaten run in the league until the beginning of May while Stockport haven’t lost in there last 18 games.
Stockport fans are able to attend the game while there’ll be no Pools supporters in the ground.
“Undoubtedly there’ll be some nerves or some butterflies on the pitch” said Challinor.
“There’s no way anyone’s calm when we’ve just scored our third goal against Bromley. No one’s calm there!
“Football tests your emotions and what you need to be able to do is stay in the moment.
“Scoring a goal will be the elation, a huge high. But from a defender’s perspective what you’ve got to do is come down quickly and deal with the next ball that comes forward.
“It’s a test of the players right the way through, controlling your emotions over the course of the game are massively important.
“It will take an element of calmness to perform in an environment that was different to what last Sunday was.”
Stockport will have had two weeks out of action by the time kick off comes on Sunday afternoon while Pools played out the 3-2 win over Bromley last Sunday.
The Pools boss was asked whether that will have any bearing on the game.
“We can’t affect that we’ve had another game. Depending on what happens in the game, we can look for an excuse as to why one thing happened or another thing happened but it’s irrelevant really.
“Over the course of the season, not everybody plays on a Saturday or a Tuesday, we play at different times so you have to deal with what’s in front of you.
“We played a game last week, they never but we’re both going into a game on Sunday that has lots of meaning, lots riding on it and no one will remember afterwards whether we played a week earlier and they didn’t.”
The Pools boss confirmed that Lewis Cass and Gavan Holohan will be assessed ahead of the game for their respective injuries.
Cass was ruled out last week in the win over Bromley with a hamstring injury while Holohan picked a knock at Victoria Park.
“We’ll have a look at both of them today. Positive from Cass’ perspective.
“We didn’t think we’d see him out on the grass but we’re unsure whether it will be too soon.
“Hopefully we won’t know that and we find out that he’s fine and there’s no reaction.
“Similar with Gav (Holohan), it was a kick. Not significant damage. No one wants to miss out for something that’s not a life threatening injury shall we say.
“They all want to play so we’ll see where they are at today and hopefully we can pick the team that can go and win the game for us.”