Hartlepool youngsters eye win at Carlisle to face Steven Gerrard's Liverpool
Hartlepool United will tonight look to set up a dream FA Youth Cup tie '“ against Steven Gerrard's Liverpool.
Ian McGuckin’s gifted young side travel to Carlisle United for a match which has some incentive (kick-off 7pm).
Victory for Pools at Brunton Park will bring an FA Youth Cup third round tie with the mighty Reds at Victoria Park in a fortnight.
McGuckin, whose side have already beaten the Cumbrians in the League Cup this season, told SportMail that a match up with ‘Stevie G’ is a great motivation this evening – to both sets of players – but says talk of Liverpool coming to the Vic is not weighing down the teenagers.
“The lads are of course aware what the prize is but it’s not been over the top,” said McGuckin.
“It’s not been discussed massively. I’m very impressed by the mature attitude of the squad. The lads know they have a job on their hands tonight against Carlisle.”
Pools beat tonight’s opponents back in September at the start of their League Cup run, which has taken them to the quarter-finals.
The winner came via a Liam Pritchard wonder goal seven minutes from time at Penrith, though that does not make Pools complacent tonight at Brunton Park.
“We managed to beat them late on thanks to a bit of a solo goal from Liam,” said McGuckin. “But there was not much between the sides on the day.
“That’s probably a good thing really because the players know that they are going to have to roll up their sleeves tonight and battle if we are to get through.”
Pools boss Craig Harrison will be at Brunton Park to watch Gucky’s young charges who have had a fine season in the league and cups.
“Getting to play against Liverpool is just one motivation for the players,” said the youth team head coach.
“The incentive of performing in front of the manager is also there. Every young footballer wants to get into the first-team squad and win a professional contract and they have the chance to impress the manager tonight.
“The lads have played very well this season, we’ve had three very good FA Cup wins against Morpeth, Halifax and Chester, and we’ll look to carry that on.
“They are fully focused on the task and what needs to be done.
“We’ve prepared thoroughly and because we didn’t have a league match at the weekend, the lads are nice and fresh and looking forward to the match.”