Matthew Bates discusses Hartlepool United’s FA Cup hopes ahead of Gillingham replay

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates.
Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates.

Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates is refusing to take his eyes off the prize this week, despite a route to the FA Cup third round opening up.

Pools take on Gillingham in their first round replay on Wednesday with a tie against National League rivals Sutton or National League South Slough waiting for them in round two.

Bates knows Pools, who have not won in five games, cannot take anything for granted.

“We have to respect Gillingham,” said the manager.

“First and foremost they will be tough opposition to face on Wednesday.

“It won’t be the same performance they gave at Gillingham.

“Did they underestimate us? I am not sure. But I do know they will not be underestimating us after the performance we put on down there.

“We can talk about the draw if we get through.”

Bates handed on-loan Middlesbrough youngster Tyrone O’Neill his first Pools start against Barnet yesterday and the player did himself no harm with a physical show up top with Luke James.

The manager was pleased with his player and has backed him to have a big impact between now and January.

“Tyrone is a player we brought in to have an immediate impact,” said Bates.

“We are not going to sign a player who is playing regular for the under-23s at Middlesbrough and not play him here.

“He is going to get an opportunity whether that be in the league or the cup. When he does get that chance it’s up to him to keep the shirt.”