Morecambe-Hartlepool United: Pools off to happy hunting ground in FA Cup

Michael Woods celebrates his goal at Morecambe in the 5-2 win last year.
Michael Woods celebrates his goal at Morecambe in the 5-2 win last year.

Morecambe’s Globe Arena is not just a happy hunting ground for Hartlepool United – it’s a home from home.

Pools have visited tomorrow’s FA Cup first round hosts four times and never lost.

We’ve got nothing to lose, we’ve got the belief we can win and be in the hat for the next round

MICHAEL WOODS

In fact, the record is incredible certainly for a Pools side who have had their fair share of woes this decade – three wins and a draw and an aggregate score of 9-4!

Throw in the fact that the Shrimps are in trouble in the relegation zone of League Two and the visit to the Lancashire seaside looks an appealing one.

So what could go wrong?

Michael Woods, one of the stars of the 5-2 Pools triumph there in 2016, hopes that nothing will go awry, though he points out that Jim Bentley’s team, for all their current troubles, are a division above Craig Harrison’s men.

“Yeah, that was the Nathan Thomas show,” smiled Woods, recalling two brillinat goals from the mercurial winger.

“We always get a big following at the Globe and fill the stand behind the goal every time we go there.

“It’s a ground that the lads have enjoyed playing at.

“Morecambe are the favourites, but how many times have you seen it when the team expected to win doesn’t?

“That is the magic of the FA Cup.

“The gaffer has said there is no change of game-plan, no piling men behind the ball and going for a draw, we’re going there to win.

“There is confidence, but not over-confidence.

“But you have to go there believing you can win or there’s no point turning up.

“It’s the FA Cup, it’s a competition we want to do well in.

“We’re on a good run of form and even though they’ve not been doing that well of late, they will start favourites as the League club at home.

“We’ve got nothing to lose, we’ve got the belief we can win and be in the hat for the next round.”

Belief is a word very much on the lips of Woods and that is a reflection of just how well Pools are doing.

And the belief is entirely justified.

Pools have lost just once in their last 13 matches and have won five times on their travels.

So, given the run of form – last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Torquay moved them to within a point of the top seven – is an FA Cup tie at the Globe Arena a distraction fom the job in hand in the National League.

“Not personally,” he said. “Everyone wants to play in the FA Cup, the fact it’s a league team as well makes it more interesting.

“It’s a ground we’ve historically done well at – the lads are looking forward to it.

“We’re going to Morecambe with the belief we can win.”

The FA Cup could prove a decent money-spinner for Pools, especially if they can make it through to the third round when the big boys enter the world’s oldest club tournament.

Woods says it’s a great incentive for the boys in blue.

“For sure,” said the in-form midfielder.

“A few of us experienced it a few years back when we got to the third round.

“It wasn’t quite the echelons of the Premier League but we had Derby County at the Vic.

“That was a great occasion, big crowd and a fantastic game and we were 1-0 up and a bit unfortunate not to get at least a replay.

“It’s a nice thought [reaching the third round] but the focus has to be Morecambe and we have to beat them first.”

The Shrimps are second bottom in League Two after their 2-0 loss at fellow strugglers, Forest Green, last weekend.