DAVE Challinor feels the Hartlepool United crowd can play a big part this weekend and beyond.

The new Pools boss takes charge at Victoria Park for the first time on Saturday, when Boreham Wood visit.

He watched from the stand as Pools were beaten by Solihull in their last home outing and his two games in charge to date have been on the road.

With back to back away games to come next week, Saturday is a rare and welcome chance for the new manager to see what Victoria Park is all about. Results at the Vic have been more negative than positive in recent yeas and the manager said at his press conference this morning: “I know the place and the support we have here is fantastic, fanatical as they strive success as much as we do.

“The big teams in this league, and we are one of those, in terms of foundation and infrastructure, can have the home crowd as a positive. It can be your biggest strength, but it can be your biggest weakness too.

“We have to make sure that we give them lots to shout about.’’

He added: “I know from the short time here and from previous experience is they don’t ask for lots – work hard, be positive, get shots on goal.

“We have to keep them with us and I ask them to stay with us. The players need the crowd behind us – they can be a defining part of the club to help us get the better of teams and get us over the line.

“I’ve seen the away following, Notts County was great, Ebbsfleet too and we hope at home to give them something to shout about.’’

Challinor was previously at AFC Fylde before being appointed Pools boss and over the last few seasons has struck up a friendship with Luke Garrard, who manages Saturday’s opponents.

He said: “My first game at this level was against Luke (Garrard) and Boreham Wood so he’s someone I speak to and get on well with. We are good friends. The camaraderie between most managers in the league is good, but you get on better with others. They played Yeovil before we did so we spoke about them.

“He knows a lot about me and my teams, me the same so no surprises about what we look to do.

“It’s a game to look forward to at home.

“The squad has presented some nice surprises so far, from the outside you make little assumptions about changes, but it’s been really positive.

“The main things have been good and that’s something in a new environment makes you wonder if it’s going to be the case.

“We are drip-feeding things in and setting down our foundations. We have to be careful and making sure we are picking up positive results in the process.’’