John Hewitson’s youngster have enjoyed a fine run in the competition but now face a big challenge from Dale if they want to bag their place in the Northern Final.
Pools go in to the game in excellent spirits, having won four of their last five games and now Hewitson is hoping they can maintain that form this weekend.
“The lads have been excited about the game all week,” admitted Hewitson.
“However, the good thing is that they have all kept their focus and really bought in to the work we’ve been doing with them on the training ground.
“We feel as if we are as prepared as we’re going to be and making the Final would be a good reward for the lads and highlight the progress they have made since the summer.
“We have had some periods where results haven’t gone for us this season but they’ve shown great improvement over the months and it would be terrific if they could get the result this weekend.”
Hewitson will have Niall Short available again after he recovered from a troublesome thigh injury but Ryan Robinson is still short of match fitness after his rehabilitation from cruciate ligament rupture.
The winners of Saturday’s tie will go through to the Northern Final where they will meet the winners of the other semi-final tie between Blackpool and Wigan Athletic.