POOLS boss Colin Cooper says his side will have no fear ahead of an FA Cup replay and a potential third round trip to Championship basement boys Barnsley.
A stunning second-half performance in the cup clash with Coventry City on Saturday earned Pools a place in the third round draw yesterday.
And if Cooper’s men were to pull off what would be classed as a shock by knocking out higher league opposition in the replay next week, Oakwell would be the next port of call in the new year.
Managerless Barnsley are currently rock-bottom in the Championship.
But Cooper said a trip to Yorkshire to pit their wits against a team from the second tier would be a good test for Pools, if they were to overcome the Sky Blues in the second round replay.
“Barnsley would be a challenging game, but it’s exciting,” the manager told SportMail after yesterday’s draw.
“It would be a tough game if we were to beat Coventry in the replay, it would be another challenge for us.
“But we would have no fear.
“We will go and give Coventry the best shot we can and the reward is an away game against a Championship side which would be a good test for us.
“We will feel that we can go to Barnsley and give them a game and I’m sure Coventry will feel the same.”
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For Cooper, the magic of the FA Cup is very much alive and kicking.
“I think it’s exciting,” he said.
“That’s why people sit and watch the FA Cup draw.
“Everybody has aspirations of being drawn against a top, top side.
“It can be give you any team from the Conference to the Premier League.
“The draw has brought us something in between.”
Barnsley are very much in limbo at the minute. David Flitcroft got the axe last week after a poor run of games but current caretaker Micky Mellon threw his hat into the ring with an impressive victory away at Brighton in his first game in charge, although that was followed by a defeat at top-of-the-table Burnley at the weekend.
But Cooper acknowledges that things will have changed by the time the third round comes along in early January.
“In four weeks’ time things will be a lot clearer, they will be a lot clearer in their position,” he said.
“But we will also have had five more games in that time.
“As it stands Barnsley are bottom of the Championship and without a manager, but it’s a good club with good players who probably just aren’t performing for one reason or another at the minute.”