HARTLEPOOL UNITED manager Dave Challinor has revealed he asked his squad if any of them were not comfortable playing Saturday’s Vanarama National League match at Sutton amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

With the Premier League and English Football League suspended until April 3, the National League was one of the only divisions in the country to allow football to continue this weekend.

By the time Sutton and Hartlepool kicked off, only six of the 12 scheduled fixtures in the top flight of non-league had survived and the pair played out a 1-1 draw at Gander Green Lane in front of 2,126 spectators.

“We opened it up to the players and quite openly told them if anyone is uncomfortable playing then come and say and if they had come to me, it would have been an easy one,” Challinor said.

“It would have been a problem if we had ten because then we’re struggling for a team. Everyone will have a different opinion. I suppose I am not knowledgeable enough about the decision to say, ‘This is right’, ‘that is right’.

“Everyone will speculate and there are bigger things, but from our perspective footballers are quite simply animals and want the decision made for us. We’ve done what we’ve been told and hopefully there are no consequences.”

Challinor called for greater clarity from the National League, with a meeting taking place today which will decide whether the division carries on or is suspended.

“Once the bigger leagues had made a decision, our lads straight away thought everyone would fall into place,” Hartlepool’s manager added.

“I was under the understanding from Thursday that unless the government made that call, which they may now make, the game would go ahead and what you want as a player is clarity.”

With little other football taking place in the capital, Sutton had their second highest home attendance of the season and fans witnessed the opener after three minutes when Isaac Olaofe closed down goalkeeper Ben Killip’s clearance.

It remained 1-0 at half-time, but Hartlepool levelled seven minutes into the second period through Gavan Holohan and it finished all square.

Sutton manager Wayne Gray said: “At the moment there is no one associated with this club - staff, players and whatever - who have contracted the virus, so we’re fit to play and we play until they tell us otherwise.