Hartlepool United boss Craig Harrison focused on Sutton United ahead of FA Cup draw

Craig Harrison on the sidelines.
Craig Harrison on the sidelines.

Craig Harrison doesn’t care who Hartlepool United get in the FA Cup – all his focus is on Sutton United.

Pools will tonight be in the draw for the first round of the competition, having overcome crack North-East non-league outfit South Shields at the fourth qualifying stage on Saturday.

The neighbours served up a belter of a tie, with first goals of the season from Devante Rodney and Nicky Deverdics taking Pools to a hard-earned 2-1 victory after Carl Finnigan had given the Evo-Stik North leaders a first-half advantage.

While Harrison might well skip Emmerdale to put BBC2 on for the draw this evening, all his footballing thoughts are on Saturday’s home date with Sutton.

The visit of the Londoners kicks of a huge eight days for Pools, who tackle mid-table Tranmere a week tomorrow before making the trek to rock-bottom side Torquay.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Harrison.

“It’s another busy week to come – we’ve got Saturday-Tuesday and then a long trip to Torquay.

“I enjoyed Saturday evening but I was back at the training ground yesterday to start analysing Sutton.

“It’s a quick turnaround with Tranmere coming a few days afterwards so you are almost got to look at two games at once.

“I have to have one eye on Tranmere, but I’ll be looking at Sutton.

“We’ve a big week coming up, rest and preparation, there are those three games before the next round.

“The FA Cup has to be on the back burner – it’s the least important part of my job at this moment in time.

“It’s nice to get through and we hope for a good draw, but the win at Shields is done and dusted now, we must put it to one side.

“I don’t care who we get in the next round, Sutton is the most important thing now.

“We don’t dwell on the wins or the defeats, we have to get on with it, we have another job to look forward to on Saturday.

Harrison hopes to have skipper Carl Magnay back for the key match with Sutton, who come to town in fourth place in the National League.

Magnay was not risked, having struggled with a stomach muscle strain at Solihull the previous Saturday.

Harrison also expects Liam Donnelly to be available after a back spasm in the warm-up ruled him out in the last minutes at Mariners Park.

Donnelly was named at right-back, only for a hasty re-organisation, with Michael Ledger getting the spot.

“Liam will be fine,” added Harrison.