A National League team always does well in the FA Cup, why Not Hartlepool United

Craig Harrison
Craig Harrison

A National League club always goes far in the FA Cup, why can’t it be us?

That was the rally cry from Craig Harrison ahead of Hartlepool United’s visit to Morecambe in the first round (kick-off 3pm).

I’ve said it from the start of the FA Cup that someone will get through from the National League, or maybe below


They will start as underdogs, given they are now a fifth tier team visiting an EFL club, and the manager would love to see Pools make an impact in the famous competition.

“Without a doubt,” Harrison told SportMail.

“I’d love to see the club elevated onto a higher stage.

“The club have been on a downward spiral and have come out of the Football League a few months ago.

“It would be nice to get coverage in the national media as well as the regional press.

“Not just that, a win would galvanise everyone even more, keep us on that upward trajectory we are on at the moment.

“We have really good away form, we’ll go there full of confidence, we are going there to win the game without a shadow of a doubt.

“We want to get through and go as far as we can.

“I’ve said it from the start of the FA Cup that someone will get through from the National League, or maybe below.

“Sutton and Lincoln got through last season, why can’t it be us? We’ll be trying our best.”

Pools should have every chance of making progress.

Morecambe, beset by woes on and off the park, are in wretched form, having just dropped into the bottom two of League Two.

They have won only three times and are the joint lowest scorers with only 12 goals in 16 fixtures.

Harrison says there is confidence in the camp and the motivation is strong, but warned that Jim Bentley’s team will view a visit of an NL outfit as a chance to turn their season around.

“The FA Cup is very special, particularly for those clubs lower down the spectrum,” said the 39-year-old, who guided Pools to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at South Shields in the fourth qualifying round.

“Clubs want to get as far as they can, there is a bit of magic and the possibility of drawing one of the big boys in the rounds to come.

“Tomorrow is a good chance to play against a higher division team.

“We think, as a club and as a team, we want to be back in the Football League ASAP.

“This is a chance to go and have a go, it’s almost a freebie for us.

“The pressure is all on Morecambe.

“But, on the flipside, they could see this as a game to get their confidence back.

“They’ve not had a great run in the league and I’m sure Jim [Bentley] and Kenny [McKenna] will be seeing this as a chance to start their season.

“It’s one to look forward to and we want to be in the draw on Monday.

“Morecambe will be tough, Jim’s really had them punching above their weight in recent years.

“They have had things going on off the pitch and the expectation is bottom three or four and Jim has exceded those and done a fantastic job.

“It will be a tough, physical game, I know that.”

There is one wish for Harrison though - they get the job done tomorrow.

“The last thing we want really is a replay when we have a schedule like we have,” he said.