PAUL Murray insists his Hartlepool United side are well up for their “classic” FA Cup first round tie against East Thurrock United.
Pools are rooted to the bottom of the Football League after a dreadful start to the season and Murray is hoping to use Saturday’s cup match to build some momentum.
The mid-table Ryman Premier League side travel to Victoria Park and on paper it is a good draw for Pools, who will be hoping they can avoid a banana skin.
The non-league outfit has nothing to lose though against Murray’s struggling side.
Murray is feeling confident though, ahead of his first match in charge of an FA Cup fixture.
“It is a classic FA Cup tie,” Murray told SportMail.
“East Thurrock will be looking at it and thinking ‘they are bottom of the Football League, we’ll get into the second round’.
“But we’ll be ready, we’ll be up for it and we’ll be very diligent over them.
“We’re looking forward to it.
“It’s about moving into the FA Cup and progressing and we will certainly look to win this one.”
Despite the dreadful league form, which has seen Pools win just three matches all season, confidence has been lifted thanks to the dramatic 2-2 draw with Newport County on Saturday.
Murray wants his side to take the determination and spirit shown in the final 10 minutes - which saw Pools score twice to rescue a morale-boosting point - into the weekend cup tie.
But it won’t be that straightforward and East Thurrock, 12th in the Ryman Premier League, will travel to Victoria Park not lacking in confidence.
John Coventry’s side smashed Bath City to pieces in the fourth preliminary round of the FA Cup, winning 7-1 at Rookery Hill, dangerman Sam Higgins bagging a hat-trick with Lewis Smith scoring twice.
Murray wants to see his side put in a positive display in front of their home fans and build some confidence and momentum ahead of two tough league fixtures.
After Saturday, Pools travel to Southend United in League Two before a home match against fellow strugglers York City - all big games.
Murray said: “It’s an FA Cup tie next for us and we should take the determination and spirit from Saturday into the game.
“Of course I want to win the game, to build the confidence for the league matches against Southend and York.
“They are all big games but we are up for it.”
Coventry is under no illusions how tough the challenge will be for his side, who are expected to be backed by around 100 travelling fans.
His side will certainly be well prepared.
Rocks will travel north on Friday morning on the luxury coach used by West Ham United stopping on the way for a training session at Bradford City, before spending the night in a Darlington hotel.
Coventry said: “Hartlepool may be at the bottom of League Two but they are still a football league side.
“They have brought in a new manager and he has brought in a number of players since then.
“The whole squad is very excited for the match.”
The first round of matches sees teams playing with a new mango Nike ball which will be used in all FA Cup matches this season.
The ball is based on the Nike Ordem II which is being used in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A during the 2014/15 campaign.
* Pools have cut their ticket prices for the FA Cup first round clash against East Thurrock United.
Pools welcome the Ryman Premier Division outfit to The Vic and prices have been reduced to £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
Tickets are on sale now.
There are no student concessions for this fixture.