Neil Critchley admits Blackpool didn’t get the glamour tie they wanted in the FA Cup, but says Hartlepool United will be feeling the same

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Neil Critchley says a trip to Hartlepool is not exactly the glamour tie Blackpool were looking for in the FA Cup – but he admits the League Two side probably share a similar view.


The Seasiders will make the trip to Victoria Park at the start of January for their third round tie.

It’s the stage of the competition where the big boys come into the hat, with all clubs from the Premier League and Championship included in the draw for the first time.

While Critchley wanted to face one of the bigger sides, especially at home, it presents Pool with a good chance to progress to the next round.

“They’re probably thinking the same as us,” Critchley said, when asked what his reaction was to Monday night’s draw.

“Everyone wants a big draw, don’t they? Everyone wants a big team in the third round of the FA Cup. You obviously want a home draw as well.

“Hartlepool are under a new manager (Graeme Lee), so it will be interesting to see if they change because there’s always a slight change when a new manager comes in.

Blackpool make the trip to Victoria Park in the FA Cup next month

Blackpool make the trip to Victoria Park in the FA Cup next month

“They had a good result against Rochdale in midweek and it’s away from home, which makes it a potential banana skin.

“We had some experience of long trips in the FA Cup last season and we managed to come through them, so hopefully we can come through this one but it will be a tough, tough game.”

Lee only took charge of Hartlepool recently following Dave Challinor’s decision to step down back into non-league to rejoin his former side Stockport County.

Lee, who was working as the club’s Under-23s coach before getting the first-team role on a permanent basis, has won five of the 10 games he’s taken charge of.

This includes a 1-0 victory against Lincoln City in the second round of the FA Cup.

The Seasiders last made the trip to Hartlepool on Boxing Day in 2016, when Mark Cullen scored Pool’s winner in a 1-0 victory.

Cullen now plays for Hartlepool, having joined them at the start of the season following his exit from Port Vale.