James Poole reckons it was meant to be for Salford City to come up against Pools in the FA Cup and admitted he’ll be counting down the days until the Second Round tie.
The former Pools man was one of City’s stars as they pulled off a cup shock in Round One when they defeated League Two Notts County in front of a live BBC Two audience.
And the cameras were there again on Monday evening to capture the moment that Poole and his team-mates found out they had drawn Pools at their Moor Lane home in Round Two.
Now Pools admits that he simply can’t wait for the tie – due to be played over the first weekend in December – and insists it will be business as usual when the whistle goes.
“It was the draw I wanted in the First Round really so it was perfect and a dream draw for me,” said Poole, who scored 16 goals in 113 games for Pools between 2010 and 2014.
“To come up against my old team where I still have a lot of friends, both players and staff, is brilliant – it will be really nice to see everybody but I will be turning up to win!
“We all got together in a local pub to watch the draw and some television cameras came down to film the reaction; the camera was right in my face when we drew Hartlepool so I imagine there’s quite a good reaction somewhere.
“I think my reaction was just one of delight. There weren’t that many teams left but I still didn’t think we’d pick Hartlepool out.
“I couldn’t believe it at first when I heard them say ‘Ball 13, Hartlepool United’! We could have pulled any of the other teams out but I think it was just written in the stars for us.
“It would have been nice to go back to The Vic for it but we’re at home and hopefully we can use that to our advantage again.
“The lads and the staff at Salford are buzzing for me because they know how much it means to me to play against my old team – I don’t want to wish my life away but I can’t wait for the game.”
Poole’s incredible long-range strike to secure an unexpected win over Southport in the final qualifying round brought Salford to the attention of the nation.
And then the club was subject to a two-part documentary screened on BBC One, showing former Manchester United stars Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt taking over as owners.
So when Notts County rolled in to Moor Lane for the televised Round One clash last Friday, the whole country were ready and waiting for an upset.
“I said before the Notts County game that it felt like everything was set up for us to win.
“I had scored the goal in the previous round to get us through which got quite a lot of publicity but it wasn’t just the goal really, the result itself in that round was a story and created more interest.
“It feels like we had two solid weeks of coverage and then with the documentary on BBC One which people have been so positive about to be followed by the win on Friday – it’s just kept on going up a notch all the time.
“For me to now get the draw I wanted against Hartlepool has just extended what’s been a great weekend by another couple of days!”
While Poole and his team-mates are enjoying the spotlight of the last few weeks, they are under no illusions about the size of the task they face in the battle for a spot in Round Three.
“Hartlepool are three leagues above us, are a professional side and have some good, experienced players.
“Hartlepool are clear favourites to win the game but that doesn’t mean we’ll be turning up to just be part of the occasion – we’ll be turning up to win and if we put the same effort in and show our ability the way we did on Friday then hopefully we can get the same outcome.
“It will be a tough game for both teams because the prize at stake is potentially massive and life-changing.”