WITH a huge FA Cup fourth round game to come at the beginning of next month, Hartlepool United are looking to make it a weekend to remember when they travel to Premier League Crystal Palace.

Pools have developed a talent for cup upsets this season overcoming teams from the division above on six occasions across the FA Cup and the Papa John’s Trophy. In the latter, a quarter-final tie against Charlton Athletic awaits them at the Suit Direct Stadium later this month. They are the most successful League Two side in cup competitions this season.

Of course, the League Two table is the main priority. Cup runs will live short in the memory of Pools fans if they fail to sustain their EFL status this season.

The club are sitting on 28 points at the halfway stage, the objective has always been to reach 50 points and re-evaluate the season from there. As it stands, they are on target to do that.

But being supplanted in 16th place doesn't exactly scream of a rollercoaster season on paper. Aside from the league, this could turn out to be a very fruitful season for Pools both on and off the field and their respective cup runs could play a major part in that.

A day out in the capital to a Premier League side is a long way from the away trips to Wealdstone and Maidenhead, no disrespect intended, and will sit very nicely with the Pools fans. But the benefit of prize funds and added revenue could be beneficial enterprise.

As it stands, Pools have amassed somewhere in the region of £225k from prize funds alone with the combination of the FA Cup and the Papa John’s Trophy. A welcome bonus from this season for the club’s bank balance. This has also helped with Pools activity in the January transfer window partially funding the club’s move for striker Marcus Carver.

Most recently, Blackpool were the latest Goliath to fall at the hands of David. Youngster Joe Grey gave the Pools fans a day to remember on their way to the last 32 of the competition.

Full-back David Ferguson told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We had the Papa John’s games you could have classed as free hits. Obviously we know we’ve got to do better in the league but it was one of them games where we’ve beaten a few League One teams in the Papa John’s and the previous FA Cup rounds.

“I thought we went into it and said if we can play our own game, especially at home with the fans behind us, you never know what we can do.

“It was a game of two halves if you watch the full game. It could have been 3-0 to them at half-time but that’s football isn’t it.

“Obviously I’ve took a shot, slight deflection and it’s gone in and then young Joe (Grey) has scored. We do well to see the game out.

“Like I say, it’s a cup game. You ride your luck at times and that’s obviously what’s got us through as well.”

Ride their luck they did. But sometimes, the best stories have a little bit of luck involved. You only have to go as far back as Bristol in the summer to see that. They are going to need a lot of that when they go to Selhurst Park.

Ferguson added: “My family is wanting to come down. I can imagine all the Hartlepool fans will be trying to make a weekend of it.

“It’s a good occasion for the club. I’ve been there 18 months now. Even before I joined, the fans haven’t really had anything to cheer about.

“For them, to get Palace away, be able to travel down and make a weekend of it hopefully it will be scenes like they were at Bristol in the summer. There will be thousands travelling down I’d imagine.”

The reputation for being a cup side is not a bad one to have as long as you can tick all the right boxes when it comes to league football.

The formalities of the date and time of Pools trip to Palace are yet to be finalised but, with the sense of those in charge, should be one of the main contenders to be a televised fixture which of course would add to the bank balance.

On paper, Pools could bank themselves another £180k is they beat Palace and they are two games away from Wembley in the Papa John’s Trophy. It pays to be a cup side.