Hartlepool United’s FA Cup confrontation with Cheltenham Town is an “opportunity” and not a “banana skin”.
That was the assessment of Trevor Carson as he looked ahead to Saturday’s first round tie against his former club at Victoria Park.
Carson was outstanding at Wimbledon on Saturday, where Pools suffered their ninth defeat in League Two – the joint worst record in the division.
But the Northern Ireland stopper, whose saves kept the scoreline down to just 2-0, feels it’s a chance for Pools to put things right.
“It’s a massive, massive game for us and a great opportunity to get a win and regain our confidence,” Carson told SportMail.
“It’s going to be a long hard week on the training ground and every single one of us knows we need to up it.
“We need to turn this form around, this is not acceptable.”
Given the respective records of the two clubs, Pools will hardly be starting as warm favourites. Far from it.
Only six clubs separate Pools from Cheltenham in the league structure and the Robins are unbeaten in eight matches.
Gary Johnson’s side are sixth in the National League, or Conference in old parlance, just a point behind leaders Forest Green.
Pools are out of sorts, with just one win in their last four, and without a home victory since August.
“We need to put our home form right,” Carson sais. “I see it as an opportunity, not a banana skin.
“We’ll work hard – as we always do – but we need to take it onto the pitch.
“We’re the home team and we have to go out with nothing to fear and hopefully we can go and show we are a footballing team.”
Carson says the side owe the Vic faithful a performance – and result.
Carson and Pools hope the fans turn out on Saturday – the club have reduced ticket prices, with admission a tenner for adults and a fiver for concessions.
“It’s all right talking about confidence but we are lacking quality, it’s as simple as that,” said the 27-year-old.
“We have not played well for the last four or five games.
“We’ve got to put it right, we know that.
“The fans deserve more.”