Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday January 2 2009
3rd January 2009
The third round of the FA Cup is upon us and we're drawn against League 1 side, Hartlepool.
Cup ties against lower league opposition are always difficult affairs for the higher team and everyone will be wary of the banana skins, especially after last weekend's public fall-out between Griffin and Fuller.
Pools' caretaker manager, Chris Turner is hoping that a bit of FA Cup glory will take his team's mind off a dreadful Christmas period which saw them beaten 4-1 at home to the bottom club, Crewe and 3-0 by local rivals, Scunthorpe: 'Stoke City players will come to Hartlepool into the unknown, but they come with that feeling at the back of their minds that 'We could get beaten today, this could be an embarrassment.'
'It's always going to be in their minds going to a lower league club.'
It's up to the Potters to prove that we're made of stronger stuff....
Joel Porter is expected to play despite suffering from thigh and Achilles trouble in recent weeks. Kevin Kyle played his last game against Crewe on Sunday and has returned to Coventry City at the end of his loan deal. Matty Robson is back in the squad after missing the last two games because of illness.
The Australian striker has scored thirteen times for Pools this season
With Ricardo Fuller and Richard Cresswell suspended and Dave Kitson and Mamady Sidibe still out injured, it will be left to Vincent Pericard to hold the fort up front. With all hands to the pump, it should be a return for Liam Lawrence in midfield. Andy Griffin rejoins an ever lengthening injury list that also includes Amdy Faye, Salif Diao and Leon Cort.
Whilst never regarded as the Potters' most scintillating striker, he has performed well in the reserves this season and needs to take this gilt-edged opportunity to show what he's capable of with both hands.
This is only the second time we've have been drawn against each other in FA Cup history. Way back in 1954 we won 6-2 in the third round at the old Victoria Ground.
Sat 10th January: Liverpool (home) kick-off 5.30pm
Sat 17th January: Chelsea (away) kick-off: 3pm
Tue 27th January: Spurs (away) kick-off: 8.00pm
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Date:Friday January 2 2009
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