Trevor Carson insists Hartlepool United’s FA Cup clash with Cheltenham is strictly “business” – even though he is aiming to KO his old club and boss.
Carson left the Robins for Pools in the summer following Town’s relegation to the National League.
By a quirk of fate, the first round draw has brought together his current and former employers.
Carson joined Pools to stay in the Football League and to be closer to his daughter, who lives in the North-East.
Carson was a popular and respected figure at Whaddon Road, so much so that he was player of the year last season and a fans favourite.
He will be hoping to get a good reception from the away fans who are expected to travel in their numbers to support their in-form side.
But, on the field, it’s not a case of friends re-united as he explained.
“There are only two still there looking through the squad that played Friday night at Grimsby,” said Carson.
“All the coaching staff are still there and obviously I worked with [manager] Gary Johnson.
“I still look out out for Cheltenham and I saw their game on TV on Friday night.
“I’m happy for them how they have done this season but Saturday is business.”
Cheltenham arrive at Victoria Park in fine fettle.
In fact, given the form of the clubs, an away win would hardly be considered an upset.
They are second in the National League, where they are unbeaten in six matches, while there is only a six-rung difference on the English football ladder.
“It’s not going to be easy,” admitted Carson. “Their confidence is up, ours isn’t.
“But once the whistle goers at 3 o’clock it [where you are in the league] goes out the window.”
Carson said in SportMail on Tuesday that the current Pools form is “unacceptable”.
And the 27-year-old insists the Pools squad need to pull their proverbial fingers out and turn around their bad form.
“We’re men and we need to man-up,” said the former Sunderland stopper.
“If we give the ball away, roll your sleeves up and make sure you don’t give the next one away.
“It’s an easy excuse ‘oh we’ve lost a few games’.
“We have to put things right.”
On the face of it, a break from League Two would appear to be a welcome one for Pools.
But Carson insists it is immaterial which competition they are playing in.
“When I go onto the pitch I don’t think ‘I am playing in the FA Cup now’,” he told SportMail.
“If I am playing 11 v 11 in training I want to win it.”