Rejuvenated ex-Newcastle star Marlon Harewood backed to be cup hero

NUISANCE ... Harewood.
NUISANCE ... Harewood.
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PAUL Murray will look to a “rejuvenated” Marlon Harewood to lead the line against Blyth Spartans in the FA Cup tonight.

The 35-year-old has struggled to regularly find the back of the net since signing for Hartlepool United in January this year, when Colin Cooper was manager.

But Harewood has impressed Murray since he took charge at the end of October and will start against Spartans (KO 7.55pm) at Victoria Park in the second round FA Cup match tonight.

He believes he is back to being a “nuisance” and both York City manager Russ Wilcox and Wycombe Wanderers’ Gareth Ainsworth have praised his performances against them in recent weeks.

Harewood even managed to bag himself a goal, a consolation strike, in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to the Chairboys for his second of the season.

Murray – who is without cup-tied Scott Fenwick tonight – will hope for a similar performance from the former Premier League striker.

“Marlon was a nuisance [against Wycombe] and he has been rejuvenated since I came in,” said Murray.

“I brought him back into the side and he’s done well for me.

“He got a goal last weekend and was a threat.

“Their gaffer said he was a nuisance and back on it.

“I have been pleased with Marlon, he has definitely got better as the weeks have gone on.

“He did well last week and got a goal – I will be hoping for some FA Cup goals from him now.”

Harewood – who has managed five goals in 36 appearances for the club – had been dropped from the Hartlepool United squad under caretaker boss Sam Collins following Cooper’s resignation.

Collins revealed the experienced frontman hadn’t shown enough in training to warrant a starting place.

But Murray has given him a fresh start, featuring in all six matches under the Cumbrian.

The focus will be on Harewood tonight given Murray is without Fenwick.

Other forward options include Jonathan Franks or Sidney Schmeltz, who could play off Harewood, like they did against East Thurrock United in the first round.

On-loan Sheffield United striker Joe Ironside is not available to play by his parent club.

The injuries and ineligible players means Murray is likely to have to draft in youth team players to make up the numbers on the bench.

Pools (likely) 4-4-2: Flinders, Richards, Lanzoni, Bates, Austin, Featherstone, Walker, Franks, Woods, Schmeltz, Harewood.

Subs (from): Maxted, Jones, Holden, Hawkins, Campbell, Smith.

Blyth (likely): Jeffries, Nicholson, Mullen, Buddle, Parker, Hawkins, Turnbull, Rivers, Maguire, Dale, Richardson.