Salford City v Hartlepool United: Pools tempo can be too good for non-league side in FA Cup

Rhys Oates in action for Hartlepool United against Oxford at Victoria Park
Rhys Oates in action for Hartlepool United against Oxford at Victoria Park

Ronnie Moore believes Hartlepool United will win at Salford City – if they play at the same tempo they showed against Oxford United.

But the manager warned that tempo is not enough – Pools he says have to match the “extra 25 per cent” the underdogs will be giving.

We have two attack-minded lads who can go up and down in Maggers and Gray

RONNIE MOORE

Pools played some superb football at Victoria Park on Saturday and feels that could prove the key against a side three divisions below them in the league structure.

“We need to play with that energy on Friday,” said Moore.

“Salford might not be up to league pace, but they will be playing with 25 per cent extra from each of their players.

“As long as they are in the game then they will give that extra.

“But it’s about finding that extra ourselves, if we don’t, that’s why cup shocks happen.

“If we play like we did against Oxford, then it’s a game you like to think we can win. But it’s a tough one, we know that.”

After a period with a 4-4-2 system, Moore returned to his early-season formation which featured three central midfielders.

Nicky Featherstone, Carl Magnay and Jake Gray were the men in the middle against the League Two leaders and they all contributed to a good team performance.

“The formation worked well,” said Moore. “We had a lot of the ball and the tempo was good.

“What I said to them is that because we have an extra man in there, don’t go crab football, square, sqaure, sqaure.

“We have two attack-minded lads who can go up and down in Maggers and Gray.

“It was a case of can we get them in beyond them [the Oxford defence]?

“I thought they did that and they inter-changed well.

“Nicky sat in and Maggers and Jake got forward and showed energy in there.

“On another day we win the game.

“It’s ifs, buts and may bes - we could have won it, but we didn’t.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t even get a draw out of it.”

Pools were unlucky to see an exquisite Gray volley come back off the bar while Mikael Mandron fluffed a great chance when the scoreline was 0-0.

But Moore insists there were more positives than negatives in the Pools display.

“We can take pride from what we have done, even in defeat,” said the Pools chief.

“I know I’ve said before about I’d rather be awful and win, but you can see what we are trying to do, you can see the improvement in their belief and play.

“In that system you do need energy and the two in there had that.”