Hartlepool v Blyth: Tom Wade says no Spartans cup nerves

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Wade excited by Blyth's cup test
FA Cup second round: Hartlepool v Blyth
Venue: Victoria Park Date: Friday, 5 December Time: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two from 19:30 GMT, full commentary on BBC Tees and BBC Newcastle, updates on BBC Sport website.

Manager Tom Wade has no fears of his Blyth Spartans players being affected by Friday's televised FA Cup second-round tie against Hartlepool.

Spartans have a famous Cup history, reaching the fifth round in 1977-78 and third round in 2008-09.

This game has been tipped as a potential Cup shock but Blyth are focused and relaxed about the task.

"It's easy to keep their feet on the ground because they go to work the next day," Wade told BBC Look North.

"Some are working on building sites and are scaffolders, some are on oil rigs and all that, so it's easy for them to get back to reality.

"They're looking forward to Friday just as another game but with a bit of edge to it."

Even though Friday's game is a huge opportunity for the Blyth players, the fact the match is taking place on a weekday rather than a weekend has provided Wade with some logistical headaches.

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Highlights: Blyth Spartans 4-1 Altrincham

"There are some lads at work on Friday, but that's how it is in non-league," he continued. "Their jobs are the most important thing, but they will be off about 12 so hopefully they'll be up with us by four.

"[Goalkeeper] Peter Jeffries is a scaffolder, [midfielder] Matty Wade makes oil platforms so he'll have a trying job and [winger] Jarrett Rivers works in a newsagents.

"There's a couple with physically demanding jobs but I've spoken to the people they work for and they said they'd look after them for me - so fingers crossed."

As a full-time, professional Football League club, Hartlepool will have no such issues in their build-up.

Their pressures will come from their own disappointing league form, which sees them sit bottom of League Two, and the public appetite for another FA Cup giantkilling act.

"That's the natural thing to do, everyone wants an upset," Pools manager Paul Murray told BBC Tees.

"That's why the BBC were at Warrington Town [versus Exeter in the last round]. People would like to see an upset but we're doing our very best to make sure that doesn't happen.

"We watched that game, all the lads watched, we prepped very well for East Thurrock and the players know what it will be like against a non-league side."

Murray's sole win as boss since taking over from Colin Cooper in October has come in the FA Cup - beating East Thurrock on home soil last month.

In the league overall Pools accrued just six home points from a possible 30, while only one of their three victories was achieved at the Vic.

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FA Cup tie good for region - Murray

"Our home form hasn't been good by any means at all and it's a good chance to get that back on track and get into the third round," added Murray.

"It's what we're looking to do, the players, me, the club and Blyth as well.

"It's great for the north east and great for our players to show what they're about and show me what they're made of."

With players such as ex-Newcastle midfielder Michael Richardson, ex-Pools stopper Nathan Buddle and former Sunderland defender Jordan Watson in their squad, Blyth have personnel who have tasted life in professional football but had the opportunity taken away.

The trip to Pools represents a chance for some of those to put themselves in the spotlight again, before a nationwide audience.

"The lads are showing no signs of nerves," said Wade. "They've got a hunger about them in every game they play, in normal league games they're so desperate to win.

"They've had rejection because they've been at League clubs, and they'll be playing against lads at Hartlepool who have actually made the step up.

"Our lads will have been desperate to do that step up, so they've got to prove to themselves they can compete at the pro level.

"If they do compete it gives them confidence for the rest of the season to say 'I am a good player'."

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