stockport boss Dave Challinor always believed his side would fight for promotion as Hatters prepared to face Carlisle. Sky Bet Second Division playoff final.

County is bidding on back-to-back promotions on Sunday and has booked their spots. Wembley After overtime on two legs, the two sides were locked in at 2-2 on aggregate, after coming from behind to beat Salford 3-1 on penalties.

Challinor took over the role at Edgeley Park in November 2021, just five months after guiding him. hartlepool He entered the Second Division and the District boss repeated this feat with his current club – this time finding himself one game away from his first English Football League promotion.

The 47-year-old admitted to having a bad start to the season, but never ceased to believe he could lead the club to successive promotions.

He said at a press conference: “The start of this season was tough but we got over it and built it.

“We got to a point now where we had to support ourselves and we all hoped to have a chance to get into the Premier League because that was our goal at the start of the season.

“It was a big ambition some would say, now we have the opportunity to take it. Promotion It was always the plan, it was hope, it was ambition, and that was the biggest thing.”

Stockport was undefeated in 13 games, but narrowly missed the automatic promotions and finished in third place, just four points behind Northampton.

Challinor admits that the Wembley stage is a very different atmosphere than many who welcome their players on the pitch every week in stage four, as around 40,000 fans are expected to descend on Wembley Way.

He continued: “You can make an impact in front of 10,000 people in Edgeley Park, you can make a bigger impact in front of 2,000 people elsewhere, it will be difficult in front of the Wembley crowd.

“What we do outside on the grass every day gives us more faith and confidence that the players are good enough, and that won’t stop me from wanting to kick a bottle or a billboard.

“We’re in a really strong position, we have two players in the playoff final, (Antoni) Sarcevic and (Chris) Hussey, so they can convey completely different feelings in that sense, emotions and we need to use those experiences in a positive way.

Striker Paddy Madden has scored 10 league goals so far this season and was also part of the team that advanced to the Second Division last year.

The 33-year-old made the transition from League One Fleetwood to the non-league in the 20-21 season, and Madden insists his move has always been based on the football club’s vision, even though many think it’s purely for financial reasons.

“At the time, a lot of people raised their eyebrows at being behind the leagues, but I knew what kind of plan was here.

“I had a chance to watch a few games at Edgeley Park, heard the atmosphere and that played a big part in coming here because I knew how well-followed the team was.

“We have always defended that we will be in a good position, we are angry at ourselves for not getting into the top three but at the same time it is better to advance to the playoffs.”