DEFEATING a League Two promotion chaser has given Hartlepool United plenty of heart ahead of an afternoon at Harrogate Town when both will get another break from the strains for the National League.

Josh Hawkes, who hit the late winner to knock Exeter City out of the FA Cup on Tuesday night, has been hugely encouraged by the mood within the Pools camp of late under the management of Dave Challinor.

And he does not want anything to dent that, including a FA Trophy outing to North Yorkshire when Hartlepool will be doing what they can to progress – even if they still have injury problems to contend with.

“To beat a team second in League Two like Exeter is massive for us and we want to take it into the league and FA Trophy on Saturday,” said Hawkes.

“It shows the character in the dressing room. We have had the first defeat under the new manager and it’s how you react to it. Can you make the next one a win or draw? It’s massive to get the win and show we can mix it.

“The new boss has been brilliant. He spoke to me after the Woking game about what I need to improve on and I can hopefully reward him with goals and assists.”

Hartlepool head to Harrogate without Luke James. The groin injury he picked up in midweek is serious enough to have Pools fear he will not play again this season.

Challinor will also be without Gavan Holohan, Luke Williams and Luke Molyneux, although it is hoped that Peter Kioso and Aaron Cunningham will be available again.

Whoever the manager sends out will be confident of getting the job done on the artificial pitch and Hawkes would love to follow up his winner in midweek with another strong display.

“The lads are saying I didn’t mean that, but I tried to shoot across the keeper and drill it low, but it sat up nicely and it went in the top corner. It’s about getting the win, 1-0 is massive for the club to be in the next round and it’s a good opportunity,” he said.

“It was hard at the start of the season with injury and I’ve had to be patient. It’s hard to be shot in for one or two games, you have to be at it and sometimes you aren’t and then have to wait for another run. Results like Tuesday affect us all, we want to see the Vic like that and we are all in it together.”

Hartlepool kept their first clean sheet under their new manager when they beat Exeter and now he wants to see that resilience maintained.

He wants to see regular repeats of at the Vic showing rather than last Saturday’s disappointment at Woking.

“You always hope for a reaction and we got that on Tuesday,” Challinor said. “I was critical after Saturday’s game of our defending and you want the players to take that in.

“Against Exeter we defended well when we had to, we did the basics well. There’s still bits we can improve on but ultimately that improvement comes with confidence and clean sheets will always bring confidence.

“Regardless of the team we play on Saturday, we’ve got to make sure one becomes two and then two becomes three, not just in terms of wins but with defensive efforts and clean sheets.

“We looked really solid and ground out a good result but looked a real threat in and out of possession. I told the players that I was impressed and it’s a big boost for us.”