Stockport manager Dave Challinor has expressed his confidence in his team’s ability to compete for promotion as they prepare to face Carlisle in the Sky Bet League Two play-off final. On Sunday, County will try to secure back-to-back promotions, having earned a spot in Wembley by coming from behind to beat Salford 3-1 on penalties.
Challinor took charge of Edgeley Park in November 2021, only five months after leading Hartlepool to League Two, and now has the opportunity to achieve his first English Football League promotion. Despite a difficult start to the season, he firmly believed that he could guide the team to successive promotions.
Stockport ended the season unbeaten in 13 games but ultimately missed out on the automatic promotion spots finishing four points behind Northampton in third place. Challinor admits the Wembley stage offers a different kind of atmosphere to most grounds hosting League Two games, with a crowd of around 40,000 expected to turn up.
The coach is positive about the challenge, saying that the daily training outside gives them more confidence in the team and that players such as Antoni Sarcevic and Chris Hussey, who have experience in play-off finals, can pass on valuable emotions and feelings to the rest of the team to use positively.
Paddy Madden, who scored 10 league goals this season, has been an important asset to Stockport, having already been part of the squad that won promotion to League Two last year. Madden had moved from League One Fleetwood during the 2020-21 season and explained that he was motivated by the vision of the football club rather than financial reasons when many people were surprised or sceptical about his decision to drop down the leagues.
Madden stated, “At the time there were a lot of eyebrows raised about dropping down the leagues but I knew what kind of plans were in place here. I had the chance to watch a couple of games at Edgeley Park, heard the atmosphere and that played a massive part in me coming here because I knew how well the team was followed.” Ultimately, he believes that his choice has been validated: “We always backed ourselves that we would get into a good position. We are annoyed with ourselves that we did not get top three but at the same time getting promoted through the play-offs is better.”
Stockport’s Promotion Secured with Dave Challinor’s Confidence
- 26 May 2023
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