Non-league Cheltenham confident of upsetting FA Cup hosts Hartlepool United

Hartlepool United keeper Trevor Carson was at FA Cup opponents Cheltenham Town last season
Hartlepool United keeper Trevor Carson was at FA Cup opponents Cheltenham Town last season
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Cheltenham Town boss Gary Johnson believes his side is more than capable of causing an upset against Hartlepool United in the first round of the FA Cup.

The Robins overcame Havant & Waterlooville 1-0 in their final qualifying round replay at Whaddon Road to set up the tie at Victoria Park on Saturday, November 7.

And while Johnson admits the draw was “bittersweet”, he believes his promotion-chasing side have every chance of making it through to the second round.

Cheltenham were relegated to the National League from Sky Bet League Two last season along with Tranmere Rovers after a season-long battle with Pools.

“The draw was bittersweet,” said Johnson.

“Bitter because of the travelling but sweet because it is a game, were they will be the favourites, but we have every chance.

“We want to get through to the third round proper and through as many rounds as we can.

“It is not the worst team to play against in the world.

“We will get over the travelling and not train on the Friday and our players will certainly have enough of a break.

“I am not looking that far ahead just yet though.”

Pools boss Ronnie Moore and assistant manager Sam Collins were both at Whaddon Road scouting their first round opponents.

Moore signed No 1 keeper Trevor Carson from Cheltenham in the summer, the Northern Ireland international Player of the Season for the Robins last season.

Carson, who revealed he wanted to play against his former side, said: “It’s a great draw for us, but it will be a tough game, there’s no doubt about that.

“Player-wise, there aren’t many left, maybe only two, but I worked with the manager and his assistant and it’s still the same goalkeeper coach so it will be good to catch up.

“I built up a good rapport with the fans there too, so it will be good chance to catch up with some of them and the opportunity to say goodbye properly to them will be nice.”

“It’s a club I will always have a soft spot for – it wasn’t only a hard time in my career but also in my life with some things that were going on but they helped keep me positive and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

Pools and Cheltenham have met sixteen times in competitive action in the past but this will be the first occasion they have played each other in the FA Cup.