SUNDERLAND RCA manager Martin Swales reckons he’s pulled off a major coup by signing James Armstrong, the son of former Sunderland player Gordon.
James also played for the Black Cats before moving on to Hull City and Boston United.
“He’s an ex-pro and his ability and experience will be a tremendous boost to the squad,” enthused Swales, who has also brought in former Billingham Synthonia and Consett player Luke Richardson.
The pair are set to make their debuts against Handsworth Parramore in tomorrow’s first round FA Carlsberg Vase tie at Meadow Park (3pm), but Joe Hughes and Stephen Callan are definitely out.
In addition, Swales will need to assess the fitness of Gary Wood, Ross Preston and Gavin Barton before finalising his squad.
“I know we are struggling near the bottom of the Ebac Northern League First Division but I am hoping home advantage will count,” said Swales, who watched his Sheffield opponents in action during the week.
“We are unbeaten in our last five games at Meadow Park which could be a good omen.
“It (watching Handsworth) gave me an insight into how they play, especially from set-pieces and who their danger men are. We’ll be going all out for a win.
“Financially, it would be good for the club but if we can go through – it would create a bit of interest and excitement for our players and supporters.”
Second Division Seaham Red Star are at Selby Town and manager Mark Collingwood is looking for an immediate reaction after his side’s unbeaten sequence was ended by Hebburn Town on Tuesday night.
“We are struggling with injuries and one or two of the lads are looking leggy because we have played so many games recently,” he said.
“I feel we need a burst of energy, but we’ll give it our best shot and, at the very least, bring them back for a replay.”
Collingwood, who has placed Peter Bryson on the transfer list, awaits news on the availability of Chris Scott, Darren Reay, Lewis Wing and David Palmer.
Ryhope CW are in Scunthorpe for their game with Bottesford Town.
The good news is that Craig Hughes, Martin Metcalfe, Nathan O’Neill and Jack Pounder make the journey, while there’s a chance that Andy Appleby and Chris Rookes will come through fitness tests.
North Shields last played AFC Emley in 1977 when they were beaten in a Tuesday afternoon replay in Huddersfield.
Captain Kevin Hughes, Ryan Carr, Peter Glen-Ravenhill and top marksman Gareth Bambridge are back in action at the Daren Persson Stadium tomorrow, but Michael McKeown, Dean Walker, Adam Forster and Stuart Donnison are forced to sit out the tie.
Elsewhere, Consett host Silsden, Bishop Auckland entertain Holker Old Boys and Whitley Bay face a tough game at Bedlington Terriers.