HAVING scored against Wigan Athletic and Peterborough United in the previous rounds, former Wanderers striker Connor Hall is looking to make it an FA Cup hat-trick against Derby County.

Hall grabbed a dramatic winner in a 3-2 extra time win over Wigan – after the Magpies fought back from 2-0 down – and scored an important equaliser in the 2-1 victory against Posh.

Now he wants to repeat the feat on Saturday lunchtime against a Rams side that will be without interim manager Wayne Rooney and will field a side made up of Under-23s and Under-18s after a Covid-19 outbreak.

“It would be nice wouldn’t it,” said Hall, who signed permanently for the Magpies from Woking over Christmas.

“Obviously both were quite important goals with the games being so close so hopefully a repeat on Saturday.

“The first one at Wigan was probably the most important one because without that it looked like we were going to go to penalties so that being the winner in extra time, it was good, probably one of the better ones I have scored as well in terms of the build up as well so obviously that was good.

“And then Peterborough to draw us level in the 60th minute in the second round was pretty similar to the Wigan one in terms of I had a touch just past the keeper and managed to finish so both quite good and important goals so I was happy with them.”

The 22-year-old admits it has been hard not being able to enjoy the build-up to the third round tie without fans.

“It has been tough,” he said. “It has not been the same but I think with the two (previous) rounds both being on telly, it has been good for the fans to be able to engage and actually watch the games and everyone has been following our success in the cup.

The Bolton News: Hall in action for Wanderers last season Hall in action for Wanderers last season

“I am sure that with it being on the telly on Saturday they will be doing the same.”

In a world now plagued by a global pandemic, keeping Covid clear is now just as important as staying fit – something not lost on Hall and his teammates, whose tests came back negative.

He said: “That is always in the back of your mind, everyone is trying to do their best to follow the government guidelines which is always tricky when you have got such exciting times coming up and you want to be around your friends and family but everyone is doing their best to follow the guidelines.

“It has probably come at the worse time with it being Christmas and new year so it has been difficult, staying in with your household but I was with my girlfriend and her mum and dad which was fine with me, we had a great time.”

The Rams know all about Covid given their issues in the run-up to the game and Hall admitted there are pluses and minus about taking on a depleted Derby side.

“It is a difficult one,” he said. “You want to play against the best players as a player.

"With them being in the Championship it's a shame if players miss out but the positive at the same time is we have more of a chance of winning the game.

“They will have a younger team out, a few inexperienced lads and with the game being a big occasion in the third round of the FA Cup, on telly, some of them might not have experienced that. Either way we will be happy, everyone is just looking forward to the game.”

But Hall says all the attention will be on how Chorley approach the game and not worrying about which Derby side turns up.

“We have just been focusing on the game, not knowing what sort of team they are going to put out that doesn’t really affect us,” he said.

“We have got our gameplan. We know how we want to play and that is why we have been doing well this season.

“We have not really gone about our business worrying about other teams. We worry about how we are going to do it, how we are going to play and, at the end of the day, we want to dictate the game and play how we play which is what we did in the first two rounds where we came out on top.

“So hopefully we can do it again."

Hall’s winner against Wigan came with a penalty shoot-out looming and with all ties now decided on the day, he knows spot kicks is a possibility – and he is ready to put his hand up.

“100 per cent I would!” he said. “I had to wait for a few lads to miss before being able to take penalties this season .

“I’ve not missed one yet so hopefully that form can continue.

“Penalties are always in the back of your mind especially as the game goes on if it is a draw. We have a few lads who are confident of taking penalties so that is always there but ideally you want to win the game before that.”