Hartlepool United need to make sure they are “up” for their big FA Cup tie at Salford City tomorrow night.
That was the message from defender Michael Duckworth just over 24 hours ahead of their second-round trip to Moor Lane.
BBC2’s cameras will be at Salford’s ground hoping to record an upset as the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League promotion-chasers play host to a side 20th in League Two.
On paper, Pools should see off the non-leaguers and Duckworth hopes that will be the case tomorrow night.
But the 23-year-old said that Pools must match the up-and-at-’em work-rate that Salford displayed in their first-round upset against Notts County.
“They are aggressive,” said Duckworth. “There were tackles going in all over when they beat Notts County, so we know we need to be up for it.
“We can’t go in half-hearted because we’ll only get turned over.
“Everyone has to be on it, 100 per cent.”
Pools, of course, have history in the FA Cup. Almost 12 months to the day ago, Pools were embarrassed at home by another Evo-Stik League side, going down 2-1 to Blyth Spartans, also in front of the BBC2 cameras.
“I was watching,” reflected Duckworth. “It does happen every year when a league club goes out, but hopefully it won’t be us this time.
“Hopefully we can go to Salford, get a comfortable win and get someone big in the third round.
“Easier said than done, but I don’t see why we can’t do it.”
The former Bradford Park Avenue defender, who helped Pools beat Leyton Orient 3-1 in a live Sky match last month, added: “It’s massive for us and massive for the lads to be playing on TV again.
“We won’t be going there with the intention of thinking it’s going to be easy.
“We watched the last round and we saw what they are like – (ex-Hartlepool striker) James Poole’s there and playing well and he’s a good friend of mine.
“But we’ll go there and treat it like every other game.”
Duckworth admits there is frustration in the Pools camp, how they can perform so well against Lyton Orient and Oxford, the latter in defeat, but look so ordinary against Mansfield, where they lost 3-1.
“We’ve just got to find some consistency,” said the 23-year-old.
“There is too much inconsistency with us at the moment – we are playing well one week, then not playing at all then we do well again.
“It’s the story of our season.
“We are inconsistent inside games too.
“We played well in the first half [against Oxford] then started slowly in the second. We must make sure we start bright.”