Hero Adam Bartlett has only one destination on his mind for tomorrow’s Capital One Cup draw: St James’s Park.
The born-and-bred Geordie and Newcastle United product would “love” to get his beloved Toon in the second round.
That would be a nice day out for me!
Bartlett pulled off a magnificent double 76th-minute save to deny Fleetwood Town sub David Ball and then a last-minute tip-over from Bobby Grant’s free-kick sealed Pools’ 1-0 win at Highbury.
Skipper Billy Paynter may have got the winner last night, but Bartlett, who expected to start the season playing second fiddle to Trevor Carson was the match-clincher.
And he knows who he wants on August 25.
“Newcastle away,” smiled the 29-year-old who started his career as a teenager at St James’s Park.
“That would be a nice day out for me!
“I came right through the ranks there, from a nine-year-old up to the reserves.
“I played 30 times for the reserves and was involved in just one senior game.
“I was fortunate enough, as a 17-year-old, to travel with the squad to Inter Milan in the Champions league.
“I travelled to a few Premier League games too, but I was not involved in terms of playing, I was more there for the experience of being with the first-team sqaud.
“But it would be great to go back to Newcastle, my boyhood club, the team I’ve supported since I was a young lad.
“To get the chance to play in a competitive game would be brilliant.”
Bartlett and Pools have certainly earned the opportunity at a crack at one of England’s big boys.
Reaching the second round for the first time in four years by winning at a high-ranking League One side was no mean feat.
Yes, Pools relied on three great saves from Bartlett and the crossbar on the only occasion he was beaten, but the boys in blue deserved the win.
“We defended really well, from back to front,” said the former Gateshead keeper.
“But we created some great chances too, Rakish [Bingham] had a one-on-one with their keeper, who has also made a great block from Nicky [Featherstone].
“We had chances in the second half too with Scott Fenwick and Michael Woods.
“But there was a lot of backs-to-the-wall stuff in the last 15 minutes and may be we dropped back a little bit too much.
“We defended brilliantly - to come away to a League One club and keep a clean sheet shows that and shows the spirit too.
“The lads defended great and the times they got through or got their shot in, I was pleased to contribute my bit.
“They had a couple of chances late on, but we could have had more.
“May be that’s being greedy - if you had offered us 1-0 before the game we’d have snapped your hands off.
“We’re over the moon with that.”
For Bartlett, it has been a dream start to his second taste of the Football League, having previously played for Hereford before dropping down to the Conference with Gateshead.
He had been expected to be on the bench with Carson installed as the number one, but a broken toe for the Northern Ireland stopper has opened up the way for Bartlett.
“Trevor was unlucky to be injured just before the season, but I’ve been able to step up to the mark and put in two solid performances,” he said.
“It’s been the perfect start I suppose for me. two clean sheets and two wins.”