Defender relishing FA Cup clash

Nathan Buddle
Nathan Buddle

Determined Blyth Spartans defender Nathan Buddle says he is relishing tomorrow’s live-on-TV FA Cup clash against former club Hartlepool United, insisting he has unfinished business.

The centre-back from Amble was released by Pools in May 2013, without making a first-team appearance, before being snapped up by the Croft Park side soon after.

But now, the 21-year-old has the chance to put one over on his ex-employers and he admits that the mouthwatering second-round tie will allow him to exorcise some demons.

He said: “I am over the moon at the draw – it was the one that I wanted and I can’t wait for it.

“I was at Hartlepool for two years in the youth team and then one year as a pro, before I was released.

“I don’t really think that I was given the opportunity that I merited and I didn’t get the chance to prove myself, so on a personal note, this tie is massive. I feel I have a point to prove, to show I could have done a good job at Hartlepool.”

The tie is certainly a tasty one; a North-East derby with the potential for a cup upset, as Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side Blyth travel to a Hartlepool outfit who are bottom of the Football League.

Buddle, however, is refusing to count his chickens and knows it will be a tough test.

He said: “We have to be realistic. We are the underdogs here, but if we play well and are confident, then we could win this and book our place in the third round.

“Blyth has a rich FA Cup history and my teammates and I would love to become part of that.”

The Victoria Park clash kicks off at 7.55pm and is being screened live on BBC Two.

Buddle says: “To play in front of the cameras is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is rare at our level.”

Buddle’s FA Cup adventure began in the First Qualifying Round in September and he played in Blyth’s First Round Proper win over Altrincham last month. He admitted it has been an amazing experience so far.

He said: “Playing in the FA Cup is what every young kid dreams of. It is absolutely brilliant to play in the First Round Proper.”

The FA Cup dream is also alive for former Hartlepool player Luke James, 20, of Amble. He was snapped up by Peterborough United on transfer deadline day in September and Posh face Colchester United on Sunday. The match, which kicks off at 4.30pm, is live on BT Sport.

○ Alnwick’s Jonathyn Quinn, 19, has been recalled by Newcastle United after a loan spell at Blyth. It has been a happy return to the Toon, as he scored in the U21s 3-1 victory against Blackburn Rovers on Monday night. He was involved in Blyth’s FA Cup run, before his loan ended.