James Poole is back at Victoria Park and he could not be happier – or more focused.
Poole says he is not at Hartlepool United to reminisce about the three years he spent in a blue and white shirt – he is here to win tonight’s FA Cup tie.
The 25-year-old will be the key attacking figure for Salford City in the eagerly-anticipated second-round replay (kick-off 7.45pm).
“I am looking forward to it,” Poole told SportMail.
“I think when you come up against your former team for the first time, you want to see your old pals and the old place.
“But I’ve seen my old mates and members of staff already – that novelty is out of the way.
“I’m now able to concentrate fully on the tie and winning it.”
That is bad news for Pools – the former Man City product is a top player with a cultured left foot.
He did not unduly hurt his former club with it in the original game though he went agonisingly near with a free-kick which whistled past Trevor Carson’s left-hand post.
“When I hit it, I thought it was going to be close,” said Poole. “May be the wind which was blowing strongly down that side took it away.”
It was one of the closest efforts on the night from the Evo Stik Northern Premier side.
“I thought it was a close game – both teams had chances to win it,” he said. “We were a bit disappointed straight after the game but once we got over that were happy to be in the third round hat.
“I think we have a good chance of going through.”
If any team has a better record on the road it would be interesting to hear of it – Salford have won nine out of 10 away in the league.
“I don’t think our home results necessarily reflect how well we’ve played at Moor Lane,” said Poole. “But away it is very good, I think we’ve won 18 out of 19 going back into last season.
“I can’t put my finger on why it’s better away, we don’t play any differently.”
Salford have not played at all since the 1-1 draw with Pools in front of the Match of the Day cameras.
They had no mid-week game last week and Saturday’s league was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
“Our league is such an intense programme, I think the breather will have done us good,” said Poole.
“I know there is less travelling, but the lads have day jobs so I think not having a game has been good for us.
“We’ve trained really hard but I think not having a game has left us refreshed.”
Salford hope to have striker Gareth Seddon back from a knee injury.