Blyth Spartans will invade Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park in FA Cup says Tom Wade

BIG GAME: Paul Murray. Picture by FRANK REID
BIG GAME: Paul Murray. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United boss Paul Murray says the FA Cup draw has all the ingredients to be a classic.

Pools made it safely into the hat for last night’s draw thanks to a 2-0 win over East Thurrock United in the first round at Victoria Park.

A Jonathan Franks double secured victory over the Ryman Premier League side.

The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side, meanwhile, pulled off an FA Cup first-round shock as they beat Conference Premier side Altrincham 4-1.

“It’s a great draw,” said Murray.

“It’s got all the ingredients to be a really fantastic FA Cup tie – we’re at home, it’s got local interest and I’m sure there’ll be a big crowd and a great atmosphere so it could be a tasty affair.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to progress, but I think playing East Thurrock will have been a good education for the players in letting them know that non-league teams can do well.”

The Pools boss gave Spartans front man Dan Maguire a short trial during his time as assistant manager at Oldham Athletic.

Murray added: “They will be well up for the game, we know that, and they have a goalscorer in Maguire who I know really well.

“We took him to Oldham and I know all about his goalscoring attributes so I am sure he will be coming to our place hoping to prove that point again,”

The Blyth squad includes two former Pools players – defender

Nathan Buddle and midfielder Stephen Turnbull – while goalkeeper Peter Jeffries is Hartlepool-born.

The seventh-tier Northumberland outfit outgunned Conference side Altrincham and will now make the short trip to face a Pools side bottom of League Two.

Spartans boss Tom Wade is looking forward to a sell-out clash over the weekend of December 5, 6 and 7.

“There’ll be a hordes there from Blyth,” said Wade. “If we get a couple of thousand tickets, we’ll sell them.

“It’ll be like a home game for us.

“It’ll probably be a sell out. We’ll be looking forward to it.

“They are a great club.

“I think everybody has got a chance and we’ve just got to there and give everything we’ve got.”

Speaking to BBC 5 Live, he added: “I know Paul Murray, who is a good manager.

“I Know a couple of the lads there and a couple of ours were released by Hartlepool as youngsters, so it’s a huge challenge for them to prove they are good footballers.

“It’s going to be a great game.”