Hartlepool United have been on a wretched run in the league, losing five games in succession.

They’ve dropped to 17th in League Two, seven points from the play-offs but eight points above the relegation zone.

Caretaker manager Antony Sweeney has been in charge since the departure of Dave Challinor to non-league Stockport County, in which time Pools have fallen down the league table.

However, they have progressed in the FA Cup at the expense of League One side Wycombe Wanderers, and in the Papa John’s Trophy.

But what is going wrong in the league? Here are some possible reasons…

1) The departure of Dave Challinor

The obvious reason is the acrimonious way in which manager Challinor left the club.

Following Simon Rusk’s sacking at Edgeley Park, the former Stockport player was installed as the hot favourite to assume the hotseat.

Following Pools’ 5-0 hammering at Leyton Orient, he was asked if there was any truth in the rumours and did not deny them. By Tuesday, he had departed Victoria Park.

The loss of a man who had got the club promoted in June clearly impacted the players.

2) The loss of the home record

The loss to Newport County on November 12 was significant- it was the club’s first home league defeat of the season, and their first since a 4-2 loss to Maidenhead in May.

The Welsh side scored a stoppage time goal in a 2-1 victory. The fortress Vic had been breached and for once, the fans were silenced and the next week, the league leaders came to town – Forest Green.

The Gloucestershire side dominated the first half and led 3-0 at the break on their way to a 3-1 win.

A usually boisterous crowd were understandably muted as Pools were dismantled at their former stronghold, their confidence shot.

3) The uncertainty of a new manager

Caretaker boss Antony Sweeney is undoubtedly on his way to becoming a Hartlepool legend thanks to his long service to the club.

However, he is not an experienced manager and recent results have reflected that.

With a packed schedule on the horizon, a new manager would be a timely boost to morale and could turn the tide of results.

Names such as Jonathan Woodgate and Pete Wild have been mentioned, but the uncertainty is risking the morale of the players being damaged.