BLACKPOOL got the FA Cup draw everyone wanted – a potential fourth-round tie away to Manchester United.
Ludo Sylvestre’s goal looked to have been enough to see off Premier League side Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, only for a Giorgios Karagounis stunner to force a replay at Bloomfield Road next week.
The winners will travel to Manchester United or West Ham, who drew 2-2 at Upton Park on Saturday, in the next round on January 26-27.
Pool boss Michael Appleton said: “I said after the game that if one of the big boys come out the hat and we ended up at Old Trafford, then it would offer us a massive incentive to get through ... and that’s what’s happened.
“I’m sure Fulham will be delighted to come and play on the Cow Patch which is Bloomfield Road.
“It will be interesting to see what sort of selection Martin (Jol, Fulham manager) makes for the replay.”
Pool were good value for their draw against Jol’s full-strength side and Appleton was delighted with his players.
The manager said: “Fulham’s was a fantastic goal and the players can’t be too disheartened by it. You don’t see those types of goals against you every week.
“We stood strong for long periods and it took an outrageous strike to deny us in the end.”
Appleton’s men had to withstand sustained spells of pressure from the home side, who were desperate to avoid a midweek replay.
But the best chances of the game fell to Pool, with Tom Ince forcing good saves from David Stockdale.
Appleton added: “If we had been a little more clinical, maybe we’d be celebrating a victory.
“I thought their keeper stood up strong with one of those chances. They could have been the difference.
“I thought we were really strong in the first half and our goal was great.
“I asked Nathan Delfouneso to do a job for us defensively and he did it really well. For our goal, he broke well, picked the pass at the right time and it was a great finish from Ludo.”
Pool’s players have been given today off after the hectic Christmas period. Results have not gone to plan, with just two points from the last four Championship games, but Appleton feels his players need a break.
“The players have had a really heavy schedule,” he said, “so I’ve given them Monday off to refresh and get away from each other.”