Why Hartlepool United boss Richard Money won't be taking the FA Trophy lightly this season
Richard Money believes the FA Trophy could take a '˜big significance' for Hartlepool United this season and has vowed to take the competition seriously.
Pools progressed to the second round of the competition following a 1-0 win at Leamington on Saturday, courtesy of Ryan Donaldson’s stunning strike.
The result has earned Pools a home tie with National League North side AFC Telford United, who were handed a trip to the Super 6 Stadium in Monday’s draw.
A home fixture, which is set to take place on Saturday, January 12 will be hugely welcomed by Pools, who are scheduled to play five times in 14 days between December 22 and January 5.
Hartlepool were knocked out of the FA Trophy at the first-round stage last season, losing to National League North side Workington.
But Money’s side should be targeting a run to the latter stages this time around.
Telford may sit seventh in National League North but have lost their last two league games, and will go into the game against Pools as underdogs.
The Bucks progressed to the second round of the competition after a thrilling 4-3 victory over seventh-tier side Farsley at the weekend, and also beat Darlington in the third qualifying round last month.
A win would take Pools into the last 16 of the competition and just four games away from a Wembley final, with the semi-final consisting of two legs.
Money knows exactly what it takes to win the competition after lifting the trophy with Cambridge in 2014, and the Pools boss believes it’s an opportunity worth taking.
“I don’t know how many games it is to get to the final but that’s one of them chalked off,” said Money following Pools’ victory over Leamington.
“You can very quickly get close to Wembley and we’d really like to go there for sure.”
The clash with Telford will take place a week after Pools' home fixture against Maidstone United and before their away trip to Harrogate Town.
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A chastening run of seven straight league defeats, which ended at Maidenhead United earlier this month, has seen Hartlepool slip eight points adrift of the play-offs.
And while Money believes it is still possible to close the gap, Pools’ new boss knows the FA Trophy could offer a lifeline.
“I think given our position in the league we really want to have a good run at the play-offs and it’s not over until it’s over,” added Money.
“Maybe the trophy takes a big significance for us this year because it does at the end mean a trip to Wembley and a trip for all the supporters and a chance to win a trophy.
“We’d like to go as far as we can.”
The Leamington fixture took on greater importance with Pools looking to establish a fresh start under Money, who signed an 18-month contract at the Super 6 Stadium last week.
His appointment came after the 1-0 win over Maidenhead in the National League, Pools’ first win for nine games in all competitions.
Money knew the importance of building on that result, ahead of this weekend’s home fixture against Havant & Waterlooville.
“After last week’s win, from a run of a sequence of losses, it was very important we followed it up,” said Money.
“Probably a similar type of win, 1-0, it’s a scoreline I must admit away from home I do like, two or three would be better but nevertheless.
“It was important to follow that up with another victory to go into next week back at home, hopefully with good support behind us we’ll have a bit of confidence behind us from two victories.”