DURHAM City manager Ian Chandler knows all about winning cups.
He played in Whitley Bay’s FA Carlsberg Cup success a decade ago and was manager when they lifted the trophy in three successive seasons.
But he admits the FA Cup is a whole new ball game. Ahead of the Citizens’ Extra Preliminary Round tie at Billingham Synthonia he said “It was great to be part of Whitley’s four successes.
“You start out thinking you have a chance to go all the way but in the FA Cup it’s a matter of how far you can progress before the big boys come in.
“It’s all about putting pounds in the bank so hopefully we can make a winning start tomorrow.”
City travel down the A19 definitely without Glen Robson but Ryan McGorrigan and Stephen Turnbull will play and there’s a chance that Micky Allen will come through a fitness test.
Synners welcome back Stephen Huggins from holiday but need to delay final selection of their line-up until Dan Dillon has a fitness test just before kick-off.
Seaham Red Star boss Mark Collingwood wants to erase the memory of a four-goals defeat inflicted by Hebburn Town on Tuesday night when his side hosts Liversedge from West Yorkshire.
“We took a hammering and need to bounce back. I was devastated but hopefully the lads will rise to the occasion. It’s a big match for our supporters and the club,” said Collingwood who reports that he will have a full-strength squad to choose from.
West Auckland, beaten in the FA Carlsberg Cup final at Wembley in May, travel to Nelson where manager Peter Dixon will be minus Adam Wilkinson but Brian Close and Jonathan Gibson return.
In one of only six all-ENL ties, a close result could be on the cards at Craik Park, where Morpeth Town entertain Dunston UTS.
A blow for the home side is the news that Dan Taggart, signed from Gateshead, will be out for up to a month with an injury.
Mark Grant and Shaun Bell come into the plans of manager Nick Gray who anticipates a difficult game. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Dunston both as a team and as a club.
“I know their manager Billy Irwin from junior football and he always has a decent side. You’ve really got to be at your best when you play them,” observed Gray.
Dunston boss Billy Irwin is disappointed that his side has lost both the opening games but with the returning Chris Swales and Stephen Harrison included in a full-strength squad, he is hoping it will be third time lucky.
“As far as I’m concerned we’ve had a poor start and are desperate to put things right. Hopefully the lads will come good tomorrow.”
Newcastle Benfield start favourites at home to out-of-sorts Penrith, who have conceded 10 goals in two games.
Boss Neil Saxton, son of the former Sunderland assistant manager Bobby, has Phil Airey, Nathan Jacks and Stephen Baptist on the injured list, but is still confident of achieving a winning result.
He said: “The FA Cup is the oldest and greatest competition in the world and I definitely want a positive result at the first time of asking.”
Jarrow Roofing take on Eccleshill United at Boldon without injured pair Corey Barnes and Ian Davison while Anth Myers is another absentee. A boost is the availability of Liam McBryde, who has been a regular scorer in the ENL for some years.
Ashington are in Barrow for their tie with Holker Old Boys and manager Gary Middleton misses Kyle Oliver and Stuart Elliott.
In a reduced ENL Second Division programme, Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake says his squad is stretched to the limit for the visit to in-form Team Northumbria.
“Although I’ve got Joe Hamblin, Jamie Perry and Kevin Duggan back, Ben Johnson, Scott Cresswell, Danny Hepplewhite and Michael Allsopp are all unavailable.
“I’m expecting a really tough game. Team have made a great start following their relegation last season but we are unbeaten in two games and the lads showed a lot of character claiming a draw against Washington in mid-week,” said Wake.
Birtley Town are at Tow Law Town and Willington host Norton and Stockton Ancients at Hall Lane with doubts surrounding the fitness of Jason White and Dean Hanson.
Danny Lee could make a return but David Gibson is definitely sidelined.
Ryhope CW are at Stokesley SC without James Cook, who suffered a broken nose in Tuesday’s game.
Manager Gary Pearson will have a few more players back from holiday as he looks for a first win.
H Two FA Cup ties will be played tonight. Sunderland RCA meet Bishop Auckland at Heritage Park while Hebburn Town are at home to West Allotment Celtic. Both matches kick-off at 7.30 pm.
On Sunday, Washington are at Pickering Town and Whickham entertain Bacup and Rossendale Borough.
– Malcolm Pratt