IF Hartlepool United have serious designs on claiming a play-off spot, the next three matches will go a long way in deciding how strong such claims are.

Pools, sitting four points off a top seven spot, are heading to sixth placed Solihull Moors this afternoon and they face eighth-placed Notts County and fifth-placed Boreham Wood before the end of the month.

Positive results in those could mean Hartlepool’s improving promotion ambitions reach new heights under manager Dave Challinor – and doesn’t he know it.

“Everyone will always have goals and targets, so a collective target is good,” said Challinor. “A monthly target in where we want to be. It would be flippant not to say anything and then win six and fall short with six.

“It’s an honest view of where we need to be for a play-off place. I hope I’m wrong and six will do, but I don’t think that would be enough.

“Get to 50 points quickly, everyone has that aim, then look for 70. 75 for the play-offs. 92 for the league title. If someone offered me 92 points I would take it absolutely. If you didn’t win the league with that then you are unfortunate.”

Hartlepool sit on 47 points so a further three today will see them hit that first target. Beyond that, Challinor will challenge his squad to give it everything they have got to climb into the play-off places.

They head to Solihull having lost just one of their last six matches and they returned to winning ways against Aldershot last week.

He has a number of players out of contract in the summer when there is expected to be big changes, but he does not feel like he can make decisions before he knows what division and direction Hartlepool is heading.

“It can be hard to look at next season, but we are still making judgements on players,” he said. “It’s a live document and players have every chance to go for it and if this group can achieve the target we set then do we need loads of changes?

“I don’t think we need masses of changes, we need to be adaptable and change system and formation. We don’t have a squad of 25 players, we plan a smaller squad than this season and what I came into.

“It gives us togetherness and we compliment it with loans rather than go all in and cancel out any flexibility.

“We have three massive games for us, next one is most important. Win this and then Notts County should be bouncing, but it’s about winning this one.

“We worked on how we want to go about it and if you don’t compete and battle you will get turned over. We have to deal with what they will chuck as us – effective and difficult to play against. We can go there and win and cause them issues.”