PLAYER-coach Sam Collins said the excitement is already building ahead of the “superb” FA Cup draw at home to Blyth Spartans.
Hartlepool United beat East Thurrock United 2-0 in the first round and their reward was a North East derby at home to Spartans, who play in the seventh tier of English football.
Social media erupted as soon as the draw was made, with fans from both sides looking forward to a classic cup tie – with BBC choosing to broadcast it live on Friday, December 5.
The Pools players are no different and 37-year-old Collins says he is looking forward to a big crowd and atmosphere inside Victoria Park early next month.
Collins told SportMail: “It is a superb draw.
“I am really looking forward to the game already, as soon as I saw the draw I thought it was brilliant.
“It is a North East derby and I’m sure it will be a big crowd and a fantastic atmosphere.
“That will be a brilliant game – we can’t wait.”
The Blyth squad includes two former Pools players – defender Nathan Buddle and midfielder Stephen Turnbull – while goalkeeper Peter Jeffries is Hartlepool-born.
Meanwhile, Pools’ strength and conditioning coach Craig Hubbard also played for the non-league side for the past two seasons.
Between 2012 and 2014, the midfielder scored an impressive 15 goals in 54 matches for non-league Spartans.
Collins added: “There are strong links, with the likes of Stephen and Nathan playing for them and it is good.
“Also, Craig played for Blyth as well and he is really looking forward to the match as well.
“He scored a few goals for them – so he keeps telling me anyhow!
“It is a great FA Cup draw for both clubs.”
Spartans reached the second round after pulling off an FA Cup first round shock beating Conference Premier side Altrincham 4-1.