Hartlepool United players have chance to show what they are made of in Pools v Blyth Spartans

KEY PLAYER: Brad Walker in action against York City. Picture by FRANK REID
KEY PLAYER: Brad Walker in action against York City. Picture by FRANK REID
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PAUL Murray wants his Hartlepool United side to show the nation what they are made of and avoid an FA Cup shock against Blyth Spartans.

Pools go into tomorrow night’s televised match strong favourites against the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side who are three leagues below.

The North East derby is arguably the tie of the round with pride as well as £27,000 in prize money up for grabs.

Murray knows the reason BBC Two are screening the match (KO 7.55pm) is in anticipation of a cup shock and has called on his players to stand up and be counted and progress into the third round.

“It is natural that everybody wants an upset”, said Murray.

“That is why the cameras were down at Warrington in the first round – it is what it is all about – and why they are here.

“A lot of people will be wanting an upset but it is our job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“Everyone sees Hartlepool United at the bottom of the Football League.

“This is the players’ chance to go out there and show what they are made of, for themselves, for the fans, for the club and their own families.

“It is a good chance for them to do well in front of the nation and it is great for the North East that the game is on the television.

“Regardless of what has gone on before and how they have done, now is the chance for the players to show me and the rest of the country what they are capable of.

“It is also a great chance to get a win, as our last one came in the last round of the cup.”

Pools made it into the second round of the cup competition after beating East Thurrock United 2-0 while famed cup giantkillers Blyth beat Conference Premier side Altrincham 4-1.

Murray is fully aware that shocks can, and do happen regularly, in the FA Cup with Exeter City knocked out of the competition in the first round away to Warrington live on the television.

The Pools squad - who have watched the Warrington game back on television to prep themselves for a live match experience - will be hoping to avoid a similar fate.

Murray added: “The FA Cup is fantastic and this is the tie of the round.

“Non-league teams taking on league teams and shocks do happen but we will be trying our utmost to avoid that happening.

“I have played in the FA Cup and reached the fourth round as a player and it is a superb cup.

“Long may it continue and we are taking it as seriously as anything.

“It can act as a catalyst but that was the idea for the last cup win we had, that never materialised but hopefully we can get a win and progress into the third round.

“The game is all set up, we just need a Hartlepool United win and that is what we are all after.”

BBC Two’s FA Cup coverage from Victoria Park will start at 7.30pm tomorrow night. Each club will be getting £72,000, the FA live broadcast fee.