Schmeltz eager for Hartlepool United to impress in cup tie

Sidney Shmeltz in action against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID
Sidney Shmeltz in action against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID

SIDNEY Schmeltz believes the televised FA Cup match with Blyth Spartans is an opportunity to relish for the Hartlepool United squad.

The 25-year-old insists he isn’t feeling any increased pressure just because Friday night’s second round match will be broadcast live to the nation on BBC Two (KO 7.55pm).

Instead, Schmeltz says it is a chance for the under-pressure Pools squad – bottom of the Football League – to show what they can do against the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side.

The Dutch winger has been in and out of the Pools starting line-up under boss Paul Murray since signing a permanent contract but he did start in the first round victory over East Thurrock United.

He is looking forward to another run out at Victoria Park, this time under the glare of the television cameras.

“The FA Cup match is good for us but also for Blyth and it should be a great night,” said Schmeltz.

“For sure it is nice for the crowd, the club and the players.

“But I don’t feel like there is any added pressure just because the match is being shown live on the television.

“It is the same white lines, the same two goals, eleven versus eleven and a ball.

“It doesn’t change much for me.

“There is going to be a great atmosphere and this is a chance for us to show what we can do.

“This is the best tie of the round.

“It is a North East derby but it is also a good chance for us to progress in the competition – 100 per cent.”

Pools will certainly start the match as strong favourites, despite their poor season in Sky Bet League Two which sees them six-points adrift at the bottom.

Spartans, meanwhile, have won their last three in all competitions and will be looking to cause an upset at The Vic.

Murray knew Schmeltz from his time as first team coach at Oldham Athletic, the winger having a short spell there last season before returning to Holland.

He experienced the buzz of the world famous cup competition when the Latics were drawn away to Liverpool at Anfield last season, a third round match they lost 2-0.

Schmeltz added: “I wasn’t in the squad but I was there and the presence just to be there was huge.

“It gave us all a real adrenaline rush and made us feel good.”

Production staff from the BBC have already started erecting scaffolding for camera positions around the ground ahead of the live broadcast.

There will be more than 80 BBC staff with plans for 20 cameras.

Dan Walker will present Match of the Day Live from The Vic alongside Alan Shearer and Trevor Sinclair pitchside plus the FA Cup trophy itself.