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Curbs: We'll be in top gear in Cup clash

CURBISHLEY: "We will be taking the game very, very seriously"
CURBISHLEY: "We will be taking the game very, very seriously"

Charlton v Hartlepool

CHARLTON take on Hartlepool in a Carling Cup, second round, tie at The Valley tonight with manager Alan Curbishley insisting that there is no question of him taking the competition lightly.

After seeing off Grimsby in last season’s second round, the Addicks were then eclipsed by arch rivals Crystal Palace who beat them 2-1 at The Valley on a night when furious supporters turned on the manager and his players amid hoots of derision.

Though Charlton have a poor record in both the FA and League Cups, Curbishley today reassured fans of his ambitions in both competitions.

He said: "After losing our 100 per cent record to Chelsea at the weekend it’s important that we push on and that starts on Tuesday with the visit of Hartlepool because I want a decent run on that Cup. We will be taking the game very, very seriously."

Curbishley looks set to recall inspirational midfielder Alexei Smertin, who missed Saturday’s match after a clause excluding him from facing his club, was inserted in the loan deal that took him from Stamford Bridge to The Valley in the summer.

Central defender Jonathan Spector, on loan from Manchester United, could also get his first start as could Uruaguay international Gonzalo Sorondo. Matt Holland, who returned to the side as a 67th minute substitute against Chelsea, may also start.

League 1 club Hartlepool are 16th in the table after holding leaders Swansea 2-2 at home on Saturday.

Admission is priced at £10 adults, £5 over 60s and Under 18s and £1 for Under 16s. Tickets will be available on the night.

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