Hat-trick hero dreaming of Emirates FA Cup run with Salford

Thursday 24 Sep 2015
Salford City hat-trick hero James Poole
James Poole is looking to continue his Emirates FA Cup goalrush by firing Salford City a step closer to the first round proper.

The Manchester City academy product only joined The Ammies this month, making his debut for the club a fortnight ago as they drew 1-1 with Whitby Town in their first round qualifying tie. 

Despite firing a blank, he more than made up for it by netting a treble in their 5-0 replay win away in east Yorkshire.  

“It was only my second start so it was good to make an impact – if you are going to do it then you may as well do it properly,” the 25-year-old told TheFA.com.

Salford City v Curzon Ashton

The Emirates FA Cup
Second round qualifying replay
3pm Saturday 26 September
Moor Lane
Winning clubs receive £4,500

Poole made his name at Hartlepool United, scoring 14 goals in 96 league games before signing for Bury last year. 

He found his appearances at the Shakers limited and, after a loan spell at Dover Athletic, the Stockport-born attacker is relishing the opportunity to achieve something big at one of his local sides.

“Logistically it works out great as I only live five or 10 minutes away, but with the exposure it is getting and the involvement of some pretty high profile people, Salford is probably the most talked about non-League club in recent years,” he said.

“The aspirations of everyone involved with the club are to go as far as we can, and when you are a player and a team is telling you that is their aim, you want to be a part of that.”

Having featured in numerous positions in midfield and up front throughout his career, the 2008 FA Youth Cup winner is revelling in the faith shown in him to lead the Salford front-line.

“I’m playing in a more advanced position than I was at Hartlepool. I played all over the place for them when I was there, but I’ve wanted to nail down a position in the middle up top.

“That’s where the manager here sees me playing and hopefully, if I can keep scoring, then he will keep playing me where I want to play.”

Former Manchester United stars Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt all purchased shares in the club last year and the profile of Salford has since risen dramatically.

And although he admits that might add an extra incentive for opposition sides to defeat them, Poole says the squad want to create their own headlines out on the pitch – starting with a victory over Curzon Ashton next Saturday to continue their Emirates FA Cup run.

“There is a lot of talk and press about us and teams do want to almost try and ‘put us in our place,’ if you like,” he said.

“But I don’t think that affects us, we turn up and give it our all, and if anything it fires us up more."

Poole continued: “Although there’s been no clear aim that has been laid down by anyone, everybody knows that the first round proper is the target.

“We have two games to get through before we can think of that, but everyone in the competition has the aim of getting through qualifying and then getting a good draw.”

And although Poole would love the opportunity to take on one of his former clubs, he says he and his team-mates would relish facing the very best should they still be in the hat when the Football League clubs enter the fray.

“It would be great to play against Hartlepool. I’ve got a lot of good friends there and really enjoyed my time at the club, so that would be nice,” he added.

“But if you have earned the right to get to that round then I just think you want to test yourself against the best available opponents. 

“It’s a long way away, we can dream about it, but we have a lot to do to get there.”

Salford City host Curzon Ashton in The Emirates FA Cup second round qualifying on Saturday 26 September. Ticket details available via the club’s official website

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer