Hapton Hitman Seddon expects tough test for Ammies in FA Cup

Actions from the game FC Halifax Town v Workington at The Shay. Gareth Seddon
Actions from the game FC Halifax Town v Workington at The Shay. Gareth Seddon

Gareth Seddon is no stranger to the magic of the FA Cup.

The Salford City striker is fighting for fitness ahead of this evening’s second round tie with League Two Hartlepool United at Moor Lane after a medial knee ligament injury saw the former St Theodore’s RC High School pupil miss the victory over Ricardo Moniz’s Magpies in the competition last month.

The 35-year-old, hoping to push himself in to contention after being sidelined for the 2-0 loss to Grantham Town at the weekend, reached the fourth round with Kettering Town in 2008/09.

After the Poppies overcame Lincoln City, Seddon scored the winning goal in games against Notts County and Eastwood Town to set up a plum encounter with Premier League Fulham at Rockingham Road.

Craig Westcarr’s 83rd minute penalty had seemingly earned a replay for the non-league outfit as he made it 2-2 but late strikes from Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora brought an end to the dream as the Cottagers went on to face Swansea City.

“For some reason we are favourites which is ridiculous - for us to be favourites against them,” said the one-time Padiham FC forward. “They are in the exact same position as Notts County in the league.

“The only thing is that Notts County turned up and they didn’t know what to expect and they kind of disrespected us a little bit by thinking they could just turn up and beat us.

“Hartlepool will be fully prepared and they’ll be thinking that the last team we want to be getting beat by is Salford. They’ll come all guns blazing and it will be a much tougher test.

“Where we’ve got to now, from where we were, has exceeded all expectations. We never thought we’d do this because the club had never even got to the first round before. We’ve got there and we’ve won so the second round is new territory for the club.

“I’ve been quite lucky to reach the fourth round before and people like Danny Webber has only ever gone in at the third round because he’s played at such a high level.

“For the other lads they’ve just got to enjoy it and they can’t freeze. They can’t have any nerves because they weren’t there against Notts County and we beat them quite easily.

“If we go in to the game with that same mentality then who knows.”

With obvious connections, Seddon stated that the dream would be to face Manchester United should the Ammies see off Ronnie Moore’s men. Such a tie would see a cohort of the Class of ‘92 - Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt - face their former club.

Seddon, who made 79 appearances for Bury in the Football League, scoring 18 times, said: “It’s a massive incentive. The dream is to beat Hartlepool and then to get Man United in the third round.

“I think that’s everyone’s dream at the club - not just because of our owners but because of the scale of it. Imagine us walking out at Old Trafford! We’ve got to beat Hartlepool first and it’s what all the players are talking about.

“We’re never going to win the FA Cup but we’re going to prepare right, we’ve had scouts watching Hartlepool, so we know what they’re about.

“They were live on TV during the international break so all the lads got to sit down and watch them. We know what to expect and we’re quietly confident but we know it’s going to be a much harder test than Notts County.

“Once you get in to the third round there’s never going to be a comfortable game. I think we’d rather go for a massive team away and play it at a massive stadium with a massive crowd on TV and enjoy the experience.

“If we get a lower league team at home, where you could get beat, you’ve kind of wasted the opportunity. Let’s just hope we draw a massive team and have a really good away day so all the fans can enjoy it. We want a proper reward.”