Hartlepool United are up for the cup ... at Morecambe and Brandon


HARTLEPOOL United’s youth and reserve sides are looking to take a leaf out of the first team book over the next two days.

John Hewitson will tonight take his side to Morecambe in the first round of the FA Youth Cup (kick-off 7pm).

And tomorrow night, the Pools director of youth will be assisting Sam Collins in the reserve-team dug-out at Brandon United in the Durham Challenge Cup (kick-off 7.30pm).

Colin Cooper’s League Two team have been in brilliant form on their travels and even though they lost 1-0 at Scunthorpe on Saturday, they could easily have brought a point or three back from Glanford Park.

“It’s an exciting week,” Collins told SportMail. “Tonight’s great for the young lads.

“Many, many years ago when I was an apprentice, the FA Youth Cup was the highlight of the season.

“To play in that competition is brilliant.

“We have good players and hopefully if they play as they can they will get through to the next round.

“I’d hoped to get some of the club’s younger lads involved at Brandon in the Durham Cup, but they are obviously involved tonight at Morecambe.

“We may use a couple who don’t play but we’ll be taking quite a strong side to Brandon.”

Pools will be taking on a side seven places off the bottom of the EBAC Northern League’s Second Division.

But Collins says that will not mean anything when the referee’s whistle blows at 7.30pm.

“It’ll be tough,” said the 36-year-old. “It’s the same old story, every non-league team wants to prove a point when they come up against a professional club.

“They always raise their game and work hard not to give you any time on the ball.

“But if we play anything like we have been lately then I hope we won’t have too many problems.

“It’s not going to be easy though and the lads know that.”

Pools will include a number of players who have been involved in the League Two squad.

Skipper Antony Sweeney looks set to play some part in the game, along with Nialle Rodney, Jordan Richards and Darren Holden, who have all played in the first team in recent weeks, while Andy Rafferty will start in goal at the Welfare Ground.