Raynes Eyes Cup Upset At Former Club

Michael Raynes, Hartlepool United

Pools defender Michael Raynes is looking forward to a return to his former club this weekend as Oxford United await in the Third Round of the FA Cup.

Raynes made 82 appearances and scored two goals for The U’s during a stint there between 2012 and 2015 and he still holds very fond memories from his time at The Kassam Stadium.

The 32-year-old is pleased to see Oxford on the up and reckons the way they have bounced back from a spell in the National League is a blueprint that Pools can follow in the years to come.

“It’s a great tie for us,” Raynes commented.

“I had two and a half years at Oxford United and it will be nice to go back. I think it’s all changed in terms of the squad, I think there’s only one player left from my time there but there will be plenty of familiar faces behind the scenes so it will be good to see them.

“It’s a good club. It’s had its fair share of turmoil over the years and it dropped in to the Conference at one stage and had to press the reset button, which is a little similar to what is going on here.

“They have found their feet again now though and they’re on the way back up. I loved my time there because the club is full of good people. It’s expensive to live there, mind!”

Pools go in to the tie some 59 places below their League One hosts in the football pyramid but Raynes is adamant they cannot be written off.

Dave Challinor’s men produced a shock in Round Two when they knocked Exeter City out after a replay and Raynes now has eyes on an even bigger upset this time around.

“It’s the FA Cup and we know that anything can happen,” he insisted.

“It will be a good day for us to look forward to and be able to test ourselves against a strong League One side and see where we measure up.

“Getting a result would be a massive boost for us and a big deal for the Club but I guess that would depend on who is waiting in the draw for the Fourth Round!

“Having said that, knowing our luck this season it will be Plymouth away won’t it?”