Hat-trick ace Higgins out for FA Cup upset against Hartlepool United

East Thurrock striker Sam Higgins
East Thurrock striker Sam Higgins

IN-FORM Sam Higgins says East Thurrock United are “quietly confident” of causing an FA Cup shock against Hartlepool United.

The burly striker has been scoring hat-tricks for fun for the Ryman Premier League side this season - bagging 12 goals since the end of August.

Paul Murray’s Pools side are bottom of the Football League but will still go into the first round FA Cup match on Saturday as hot favourites.

Higgins, who scored his latest hat-trick on Tuesday night, believes Rocks have what it take to cause an upset though.

But he admits that they will need to be “the best they have ever been” to beat Pools.

John Coventry’s side smashed Bath City in the fourth preliminary round of the FA Cup, winning 7-1 at Rookery Hill, dangerman Higgins bagging a hat-trick with Lewis Smith scoring twice.

Higgins said: “We did very well to win 7-1, but this is another tough test.

“Hartlepool are a full-time side and have experienced players and we will have to be at our absolute best to win, although we are quietly confident of causing an upset.”

Hotshot Higgins was at it again on Tuesday, scoring all four goals in their 4-2 win over Hungerford Town in the FA Trophy First Qualifying Round.

At one stage it looked like Higgins would be suspended for the trip to the North East on Saturday after the club believed he had picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, but it was an administrative error and Higgins has only been booked four times this season – to the relief of his manager.

Higgins added: “It is great for me personally to be able to play in the first round and I would have been devastated to miss out, but we have faith in our ability as a team.”

Coventry admits it is a big boost to have Higgins available for the cup tie at Victoria Park.

The East Thurrock boss said: “We thought at the time he would miss the game and so did he.

“So to have him back is a welcome surprise.

“He is delighted and so are we because he is a big part of what we do.”

– RICHARD MENNEAR