Ex-Hartlepool star Stephen Turnbull plots FA Cup upset with Blyth Spartans

BUZZING: former Hartlepool player Stephen Turnbull
BUZZING: former Hartlepool player Stephen Turnbull

BLYTH Spartans’ Stephen Turnbull is confident of beating former team Hartlepool United to book a place in the third round of the FA Cup.

The 27-year-old midfielder spent five years at Pools between 2003 and 2008 and still looks out for their results every weekend.

But he won’t be showing any sentiment when the sides meet in the second round early next month.

Turnbull watched the FA Cup draw with his family and said he was “absolutely buzzing” the sides were pulled out of the hat.

On paper a draw at home to a side who play in the EvoStick Northern Premier League looks a decent one for Pools – but Spartans are out to cause an upset in the North East derby.

Turnbull told SportMail: “I know the Pools manager Paul Murray described it as a great draw but everybody will be looking for an upset.

“Hartlepool’s confidence and morale will be low because of their league form and we go there full of confidence.

“I am confident we can cause an upset – we have only lost one match in 13.”

Turnbull, who made 25 appearances for Pools, helped Spartans pull off an FA Cup first round shock by beating Conference Premier side Altrincham 4-1.

Turnbull combines playing with completing an apprenticeship for P&O Ferries and recently returned to dry land after a spell at sea.

He will now spend the next year at college before heading back out to sea for five months next December.

For now though, his focus is fully on playing for Spartans and helping them cause another cup shock.

Turnbull said: “I was absolutely buzzing when the draw was made.

“It is a great cup tie for us and we are looking forward to going to The Vic and putting on a good show.

“I watched the draw with my family and to get an away tie against the side I used to play for is incredible.

“Hartlepool is still the first result I look for on a Saturday, I spent a lot of time at the club and enjoyed my time there.

“When I was there we had the likes of Ritchie Humphreys, Adam Boyd etc and the whole club was on the up.

“The first team was winning, the youth team and the reserves – there was a great vibe and I have very fond memories.

“It is a shame to see them struggling at the bottom of League Two now.”

Stephen’s twin brother Phil plays for Conference side Gateshead, who also made it through to the second round and face lowest-ranked Warrington Town at home.

He added: “It is a great draw for us and for Phil and Gateshead too.

“They have a great chance of progressing too and it is an exciting time for both of us.”

Turnbull has also spoken to Heather Maidens, mum of former Pools and Spartans midfielder Michael Maidens, who was tragically killed in a road accident seven years ago.

Stephen added: “I have spoken to Michael’s mum and offered her my tickets for the cup match because Michael played for both teams.”