Hartlepool can become FA Cup giant killers says Craig Hignett, but must avoid their own banana skin first
Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has warned his players to beware of the FA Cup underdogs.
Although, the gaffer is hopeful his players can forget their League Two woes and make a name for themselves in a competition which is very close to his heart.
Hignett managed to reach a final during his playing days with Middlesbrough.
And so he understands the value of the competition, which is so often overlooked by many of the bigger clubs.
Hignett is keen for his players to make a name for themselves in the cup this season, despite their recent fourth tier slide.
But it has to be for the right reasons. The last thing the Pools boss wants his players to do is to take things lightly.
If they do they could well end up writing their own names in the history books, but it be less like his Boro days, and more like the Pools side beaten by Blyth Spartans in 2014.
“I want to get as far as we can in this competition,” said the manager prior to the visit of Evo-Stik NLP Division One side Stamford.
“But we have to wary. Teams from the lower leagues raise their game when it comes to this competition.
“There is a buzz about it. You can make a name for yourself in this competition.
“I will be telling the players that.
“But it can work both ways.
“Players have got moves from the non-league or lower leagues who have scored hat-tricks to knock teams out. It can happen.
“The FA Cup is a great shop window for players in the lower leagues.
“We need to make sure it is us making a name for ourselves and not Stamford.”
One thing Hignett has made clear this week is the need to put out a strong side against Stamford.
While they are from four levels below Pools on the Football League pyramid, the FA Cup can become a leveller.
Hignett knows this all too well, having been an underdog and favourite during his playing days.
He said: “I was fortunate enough to play for some teams who were underdogs in the cup.
“It was like that when I was at Crewe and then I have been with Middlesbrough when we went to the final.
“So I have been on both sides.
“We got to the fifth round with Crewe once and got beat away at West Ham. It was a last minute goal that beat us and I missed a sitter in the game.
“Then I was lucky enough to get to a final with Boro.
“These are the kind of memories that are made in this competition. We want to make our own this year.”