Seaham Red Star’s delayed FA Carlsberg Vase third round tie against Dunston UTS definitely goes ahead tomorrow.
The Tynesiders have forfeited home advantage and agreed with Seaham to play the match on Consett’s all-weather surface at the Belle View Stadium.
“Consett have kindly agreed to make the ground available and Red Star immediately came on board. The FA also sanctioned the switch, so hopefully we’ll get the tie played tomorrow,” said Dunston secretary Bill Montague
Manager Billy Irwin cannot call upon former Newcastle Benfield player-boss Steve Bowey and Gary Shaw, who are both ineligible, and also out is Craig Hodgson, who underwent an operation on Christmas Eve
Liam Thear is expected to have recovered full fitness and he’s likely to be involved at some stage.
“Following the enforced break, the lads are raring to go. Seaham didn’t make a very good start, but they have come up on the rails, so we face a formidable challenge” declared Irwin.
Red Star boss Mark Collingwood also has players cup-tied and neither David Palmer, previously with Bishop Auckland, or ex-Durham City man Craig Lynch can play.
He also waits news on two players. Carl Thorp, who was injured last weekend, and Liam McBryde, out since October with a broken ankle, may feature if they pass their fitness tests. “It was a tough first month back in the top flight, but our manager brought in Palmer, Jack Walker (North Shields) and Lewis Wing (Shildon),” said secretary David Copeland.
“Unfortunately, Wing’s loan spell has ended, but we still have a strong squad and looking to make further progress in the competition.”
Only two teams out of the six who made it to the third round have reached round four.
Sunderland RCA have home advantage over Sleaford Town from Lincolnshire, weather permitting, a game which boss Martin Swales describes as a “big game.”
Swales said: “We are the only Wearside club left in the competition and this is the furthest RCA have been.
“We’ve trained twice this week, just trying to keep a finger on the pulse, and will have a game plan for Sleaford.”
A double blow to the Wearsiders’ hopes is the news that leading scorer Stephen Callen is out with a hamstring injury, while vice-captain Reece Noble is banned.
Fortunately, Luke Richardson and James Armstrong are available for the Meadow Park clash, which will have a pitch inspection today.
North Shields are also through to the fourth round and await the outcome of tomorrow’s third round match between South Shields and Morpeth at Mariners Park.
Manager Jon King is looking forward to the contest, saying “Morpeth was my last team before I took over at South Shields. They lead the First Division and we top the Second and are the underdogs, but this suits us. We will work hard to get a result.”
The recent inactivity has enabled players to recover fitness and King’s only absentee is long-term injury victim Lewis Galpin, with a broken leg.
Morpeth Town will hand a long-awaited debut to Mateusz Halambiec, who is included in a full strength pool of players.
Newton Aycliffe will hope to make home advantage count against Atherton Collieries, while the venue for Marske United’s “home” tie with Team Northumbria is uncertain.
Should Marske’s ground be declared unfit, then there is a chance the match could be switched to Team Northumbria’s pitch.