Dave Challinor says Hartlepool United's preparations for the National League play-off final have been in place for some time.

Sunday’s 1-0 win over Stockport County in the semi final sealed a date with Ashton Gate next week against Torquay United in what is the biggest game in the club’s recent history.

The Gulls sealed their fate by beating Notts County in their semi final on Saturday and go into the game as slight favourites ahead of Pools.

It was a hard fought win over County at Edgeley Park and manager Dave Challinor says his squad togetherness will play a huge part in achieving the ultimate goal of a return to the Football League.

“It’s easy to say with winning teams that it’s a great group” Challinor admitted.

“Most changing rooms, they’re not many that are strewn with bad eggs or people that aren’t good lads, good characters.

“There is a real togetherness about the group. Even with the constraints we have, having to use loan players who’ve been brilliant. They’ve fitted in and been a massive part of what we do.

“Hopefully we can go on to achieve something special as a group and Sunday is obviously a big chance for us.”

Around 3,100 tickets have been allocated for Pools and Torquay fans to attend the game in Bristol which is a 2pm kick off at Ashton Gate. 

As Pools fans would expect, Challinor says he's has had a contingency plan in place for some time depending on whether they reached Sunday’s final.

The squad will now go through that plan of action and will be assessed for any potential injuries throughout the week.

“This week was already planned so it makes no difference for us.

“We’ll obviously have to sort hotels and things but for us it’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in terms of training. First part of the week will be extended recoveries to see how lads are.

“The back end of the week, a little bit more detail.

“The lads watched the Notts v Torquay game so we’ll go through bits of that and we’ll analyse what Torquay have done.

“It (Stockport) was a unique environment. Ridiculously hot day, mental pressure and players going down with cramp.

“Not through not be able to deal with the game because players, who are probably the fittest in the team, are going down with cramp.

“These games, you do waste a lot of nerves and energy. What we’ve got to do as best as possible is recover. No one will want to miss the game.

“Some will miss out through decisions from us, some will miss out through injuries.

“Everyone will want to be fit, everyone will want to play.”