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THE PURPLE PREVIEW: HARTLEPOOL UNITED

City of Liverpool FC play the biggest game in our history on Saturday afternoon in front of what promises to be a bumper crowd at the Berry Street Garage Stadium.

The Purps, who overcame a two-tier deficit to defeat National League North side Buxton in the previous round, will look to eclipse the feat against the National League giants who are three leagues above Paul McNally’s side.

It has been a brilliant FA Trophy campaign for the Purps so far, which started by eliminating fellow NPL West Division sides 1874 Northwich and Witton Albion.

Next up was a penalty shoot out victory over NPL Premier Lancaster City after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.

Goalkeeper Calvin Hare was the hero for saving one penalty during normal play, before also stopping the first THREE of Lancaster’s spot-kicks in the shoot out.

City of Liverpool then faced step 3 side Stamford AFC at home and overcame The Daniels 1-0, courtesy of Callum Schorah’s first half strike.

The reward was a tough trip to Step 2 Buxton, who beat the Purps 1-6 when we last faced each other in 2021!

There was only one winner this time too, as Paul McNally’s side came away with a brilliant 3-1 victory thanks to strikes from Schorah, Josh Quarless and a brilliant Danny Mitchley finish in injury time.

City of Liverpool FC go into this FA Trophy Third Round fixture on the back of three good training sessions since the last match, having seen last Saturday’s planned trip to Hanley Town beaten by the winter weather.

The mood in the camp is one of anticipation, with Macca’s boys excited to test themselves against a professional, Step One outfit in Hartlepool United.

Having enjoyed some great moments with the Purps home and away this season, particularly on this FA Trophy run, the players and staff have expressed their gratitude for the support they have received so far.

We caught up with top scorer Josh Quarless at training on Thursday, who talked us through the atmosphere amongst the squad and discussed the importance of the home support in such a big game.

We also spoke with manager Paul McNally, who talked us through his side’s preparations, the optimism and happiness throughout the squad, describing the club’s supporters as “the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth man” ahead of Saturday’s match.

THE OPPOSITION:

Hartlepool United were a Football League side last season when they were relegated for only the second time in their 115 year history, finishing 23rd in League Two.

Based in Hartlepool, County Durham, “Pools” play at the 7865 capacity Suit Direct Stadium, more commonly known as Victoria Park.

They are managed by former Shrewsbury Town, Port Vale and Macclesfield Town gaffer John Askey, who also had a successful spell at York City which saw the Minstermen gain promotion from the National League North in his first season in charge.

Hartlepool United manager John Askey.

This will be City of Liverpool’s first competitive appearance against a fully professional side.

THE SEASON SO FAR:

Hartlepool United have had a mixed season so far and currently occupy 12th place in the Vanarama National League Table with 27 points won from 22 games played.

This is Hartlepool United’s first game in this season’s FA Trophy, as they enter the competition at this Third Round stage.

ONES TO WATCH:

Towering forward Mani Dieseruvwe leads Pools’ goalscoring charts with 13 strikes to his name from 21 appearances so far.

The marksman was also top scorer for Halifax Town last season and has represented a wealth of clubs across his career, including Sheffield Wednesday, Fleetwood Town, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Kidderminster, Salford City, Oldham Athletic, Tranmere Rovers, and Grimsby.

Dieseruvwe won the FA Trophy last season with Halifax.

Hartlepool United forward Mani Dieseruvwe photographed with the Vanarama National League POTM award he won for August 2023.

Midfielder Nicky Featherstone previously represented Hull City and has also spent time at Walsall and Hereford.

Featherstone possesses plenty of experience and is currently 7th on the all-time Hartlepool United appearance list.

Hartlepool United midfielder Nicky Featherstone.

Winger Jake Hastie was signed from Scottish Premiership giant Rangers in 2022 and has been capped twice by Scotland at Under 21 level.

A dangerous and tricky operator on his day, Hastie has also previously represented Motherwell and Rotherham United.

Jake Hastie (right) playing for Rotherham United.

David Ferguson is a rock at the back who was handed the captaincy ahead of the 2023-24 campaign by manager John Askey.

Ferguson counts Sunderland, Darlington, York City and Blackpool on his list of previous clubs.

Hartlepool United captain David Ferguson

GET ME TO THE MATCH:

As communicated on our club channels, this is an ALL TICKET match which means City of Liverpool and Hartlepool fans will need to purchase their ticket in advance.

Tickets are available via the below Fanbase link and supporters are encouraged to get their ticket sorted ASAP, which not only avoids disappointment of missing out, but also helps our volunteers to plan for this fixture accordingly.

City of Liverpool manager Paul McNally has stressed the importance of the Purple faithful throughout this brilliant FA Trophy run, so we’re calling on all Purps fans to come along and show your support to Macca and the lads.

HOME TICKETS: https://app.fanbaseclub.com/Fan/Tickets/SelectType?fixtureId=4621

AWAY TICKETS: https://app.fanbaseclub.com/Fan/Tickets/SelectType?fixtureId=4622

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