BLYTH Spartans star striker Dan Maguire will be the focus of close attention by the Hartlepool United defenders tonight.
Pools boss Paul Murray has highlighted the 21-year-old as one to watch and knows him well having taken him to Oldham Athletic for a trial last season.
Murray was first team coach at the Latics before taking over as manager at Victoria Park six weeks ago.
Maguire – who has scored nine goals this campaign including five in the FA Cup – didn’t do enough to earn a contract at Oldham but Murray says his defence must be on their toes against him tonight.
On-loan Cambridge United defender Matteo Lanzoni and Matthew Bates are expected to line up in central defence against the Spartans (KO 7.55pm).
“I had Dan Maguire on trial at Oldham last season to have a good look at him,” Murray told SportMail.
“His goalscoring record was better last year than it is this year.
“But he does get between the centre-halves and the full-backs and he is fairly nippy and has a good finish on him.
“At the time he just wasn’t right for Oldham but who knows in the future.”
Maguire scored 27 goals in 50 appearances for the non-league side last season but hasn’t been as prolific this term, with captain Robbie Dale their top scorer with 14 goals in 21 games.
Murray has been doing his homework on tonight’s opponents and tapping into the knowledge of the likes of Scott Fenwick, signed recently from Dunston UTS.
Fenwick is cup-tied tonight but has played against Spartans on several occasions and has been helping the Pools manager.
Tom Wade’s side are 19th in Evo-Stik Northern Premier League but have nine matches in hand over the league leaders, while they have been in good form in both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy.
Murray added: “We have been speaking to various people about Blyth, including Scott.
“They will have done their homework on us, no doubt. Their league form has picked up and their home form has been good.
“I know a fair bit about them and Dan [Maguire] and their three front players can cause problems.
“Plus they have Nathan Buddle at the back in central defence but I have done my homework and know what we can expect.”