HARTLEPOOL United are welcoming the return of fans at Victoria Park for the first time in over a year for this weekend's game against Weymouth. 

Ahead of the game, the Pools boss wants his side to reward the fans for their supporter behind the scenes across the season and for their help in the build up to the match.

Volunteers gave up their time earlier in the week working down at the ground to make sure Victoria Park is in pristine condition and it involved doing everything from painting barriers to sweeping floors.

Around 1,700 supporters are expected to make their way through the turnstiles for the first time in over a year to watch a Pools side who are in the midst of their best season in the National League.

They've confirmed there place in the play-offs but the last game of the season will determine whether they will play in the quarter finals or the semi finals. A top three finish would ensure a straight passage to the semi's.

"Regardless of the situation of where we've been, ultimately getting fans back in the ground will be a celebration for everybody" said Challinor.

"From a club, player and staff perspective, to be able to thank the fans actually in the flesh is something that we're really looking forward to.

"Hopefully the fans can give the players real support over the 90 minutes and show their appreciation, I'm sure they will.

"We hopefully don't need them as much maybe tomorrow but certainly when a play-off game arrives and they are in the ground, then it's going to be massively important.

"Our home record has been terrific. We started that run at the back end of last season when we had supporters in the ground. They were brilliant and a big part of that.

"We've continued that this season unfortunately with them not in attendance.

"It's an opportunity for them to come back in and we're looking forward to seeing the ones that have tickets and playing in front of them.

"Hopefully we can put on a show for them."

Pools had the chance to climb into the top three at the expense of Stockport County but failed to take advantage on Sunday as they went on to lose 3-0 against league winners Sutton United.

The U's confirmed promotion to the Football League for the first time in their

history as they lifted the trophy at Gander Green Lane while the Pools squad were readying themselves in the changing room for a long trip back up the M1.

Challinor added "What we have to do as a management group is make that a beneficial learning experience for ourselves moving forward."

"We're not going to start throwing players under the bus. We've all been there.

"We wanted to go to Sutton and win on Sunday, that wasn't the case.

"We didn't win enough individual battles and we got beat on the day.

"As much as we hate losing, we have to take it. We have to learn from it.

"We need to use it, whether that's to increase motivation or whatever it might be.

"We need to make sure, especially taking it into those big play-off games, we're not thinking of that again."

As Pools chase a spot for the top three in the National League, they sit one point behind third placed Stockport County who travel to Yeovil Town on the final day of the season.

Fifth placed Notts County can still catch Pools who sit three points behind them in the table with a superior goal difference. They make the trip to Bromley.

Pools welcome 18th placed Weymouth for a 12:30 kick off at the Vic.