Ian McGuckin has hailed the professionalism of his young players after the Youth Team secured their place in Round Three of the FA Youth Cup with victory at Carlisle United on Tuesday.
Late goals from Connor Simpson and Liam Pritchard ensured a 2-0 win at Brunton Park and set-up a glamour tie against Liverpool at Victoria Park next month.
McGuckin was pleased with the way his side went about their task in Cumbria and said they thoroughly deserved to make progress in the competition.
“I am delighted for the lads because they worked really hard,” he told us.
“In all honesty, I felt like we dominated the game and controlled things without finding the breakthrough so it was pleasing to get the goals near the end to get the job done.
“It’s always in the back of your mind that you could get done with a sucker punch if you don’t score when you’re on top and we had a bit of a warning when Carlisle broke and shot wide just before we scored.
“But, all in all, I would say the lads put in a really focused and professional performance from the lads; we knew it would be tough and that concentration would be key but the lads were superb.
“I know that they really appreciated the fact that the gaffer, as well as Paul Jenkins, Matthew Bates and Bernie Hirmer all took time to travel over and watch – that gave them a massive lift going in to the game.”
Liverpool’s youngsters will certainly offer a stern test in the next round for Pools – the Anfield outfit boast several international stars and are also in the final stages of the Champions League.
However, McGuckin says the players must concentrate on the games they have between now and then before getting too excited about welcoming the Reds to the north-east.
“There wasn’t a lot of talk about Liverpool before the game which was good because we knew we had work to do,” he explained.
“They have done the hard work now and got their reward though so it’s definitely something for everyone to look forward to.
“We’ll do our homework on Liverpool and get some footage of them to help us prepare but at the moment we have to take one game at a time.
“I think the game can also act as a driving force for us in the league because all the lads will want to be involved against Liverpool so we can use that as an incentive for our games before it.
“I do think it will be a brilliant night for the Club. Obviously a lot of it will be based around the fact that Steven Gerrard is there but it will be fantastic to host a great club like Liverpool at The Vic.
“I hope everyone gets right behind us and comes along to the game because it will be a chance to see some international players and potential stars of the future so hopefully there’s a big crowd.”