FA Cup: Hartlepool United v Derby County is great third round tie if Pools beat Salford City
Hartlepool United have been paired with Derby County in the FA Cup – if they can beat Salford City in their second round replay.
Pools will face the in-form Rams in the third round on the weekend of January 8-11.
Ronnie Moore’s side led 1-0 at Salford on Friday night after Rhys Oates put away his eighth-minute penalty, only for Steve O’Halloran to sweep in an equaliser before half-time at Moor Lane.
Derby are currently flying in the Sky Bet Championship after an uncertain start to the season.
Former Real Madrid coach Paul Clement has taken the Rams to third place in the table, just two points off an automatic promotion place.
Pools assistant boss Sam Collins told SportMail: “It’s a great tie, providing we get through the replay, we are taking nothing for granted.
“The incentive is there for us to play against a top Championship team.
“ If we do get to play them, we have to do what Salford did to us on Friday night and make our ground a difficult place to come to.
“It would be a game for our lads to look forward to – an opportunity to show what we can do.”
Collins said he has seen Derby on TV and been impressed with the way Paul Clement has transformed the team, assisted by assistant coach John Peacock.
“I have watched them a few times on Sky,” said the 38-year-old.
“I saw them when they won at Hull to go top of the table and on Sunday against Sheff Wed, they have very good players.
“Paul Clement is new to management but not coaching, he has tremendous experience and by all accounts he is very good.
“I know John Peacock there and he is an excellent coach.
“ Derby are very good and it’s a brilliant tie if we can get through.”
Pools claimed Derby’s scalp three decades ago in one of the club’s great FA Cup days at the Vic.
The once-mighty Derby had found themselves in the Third Division and visited Fourth Division Pools in the second round in 1984-85.
It seemed to be going to form in the first half as the Rams went in front from the penalty spot.
However, Mark Taylor, now part of Sam Allardyce’s backroom staff at Sunderland, fired home a superb equaliser from the edge of the box before Kevin Dixon displayed nifty footwork in a muddy box to score the winner for Billy Horner’s team