Scott Loach is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with a former team-mate this weekend when Pools play host to Kidsgrove Athletic in the FA Cup.
The keeper was in the same Watford squad as Grove midfielder Lee Williamson, who is on the books of Saturday’s opponents following a successful professional playing career with the likes of Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers.
Midfield star Williamson, now 36, was persuaded to sign for the Staffordshire side by his friend Ryan Austin, who is Player Manager of the Evo-Stik West Division outfit.
“Lee is a Nottingham lad like me,” explained Loach.
“He was at Mansfield for a bit before him and Will Hoskins moved from Rotherham to Watford in the same deal in 2007 and we were all from the same sort of area.
“He was older than me but I remember him and Jobi McAnuff used to get on at me to go in the gym all the time!
“Lee is a good lad; he was a real character and great to have in the dressing room because the banter was always good – I remember him calling another player, Lee Hodson, ‘Meatball Head’!
“He was the kind of lad who had a positive influence on those around him, he was a proper pro who loved the game and I expect he’s still enjoying every minute at Kidsgrove now.”
Loach has dismissed any suggestion that Pools can afford to take their lower division opposition lightly this weekend and has insisted that he and his team-mates are determined to get through.
“We’ll be taking the game very seriously,” said Loach, who was on the bench for The Hornets when they knocked Pools out of the FA Cup with a 4-1 win at Vicarage Road in 2011.
“Everyone wants to play in the FA Cup, it’s a dream – it probably one of the things people will tell you they really want to do when they start playing football.
“It will be Kidsgrove’s Cup Final on Saturday and they will definitely come out all guns blazing so we have to keep control, start well and play the way we can.
“If we can do that then hopefully we can kill them off fairly early in the game and then everyone can really enjoy the afternoon.
“We know it will be a tough test though – there will be no complacency from anyone in our dressing room. We want to keep our momentum because that’s massive in football.
“We have had a good start to the season and these are the kinds of games where you can build on that.
“We won’t take anything for granted but if we can win the game on Saturday then that will give us a big boost going in to the Sutton game next weekend and then we go from there.”
Kidsgrove have already made their way through four rounds to set-up their trip to The Super 6 Stadium but Loach is adamant that Pools will end their run on Saturday.
The 30-year-old is keen to make some more of his own FA Cup memories this season having had a taste of playing in some big games in this famous competition in the past.
“Our aim at the moment is to get through to the First Round because there will be some big teams we could draw if we do that.
“The further you go you just hope for that tie that will see you play against the big teams at the big stadiums because that’s where everybody wants to be.
“I remember when I was at Watford we went quite far one year and we played Chelsea at home – went 1-0 up on about 70 minutes and I remember thinking ‘this is it’.
“And then Anelka stepped up and scored a hat-trick in the last fifteen minutes!
“They’re the types of games you want to be involved in though and this competition is great for giving that sort of opportunity.”