Washington want big backing for FA Cup challenge

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WASHINGTON stage one of the biggest games in their history when they line up against Lancaster City in the FA Cup preliminary round at Nissan Sports Complex tomorrow.

Founded in 1947 by the miners of the Washington F Pit and known as The Mechanics, they famously took Bradford Park Avenue, then a Football League side, to the wire in a 1971 third round tie.

On that occasion, almost 3,000 spectators packed into the Usworth Colliery ground. Although nowhere near that figure will be realised tomorrow, the Newtowners – as they are now known – are hoping for their biggest gate in years.

In a bid to pack in as many fans as possible, the club is charging adults only £5, while concessions will pay £3 and children get in for free.

In addition, Sunderland season card holders will be charged just £3 on production of their card.

“This is one of the biggest games in the club’s history and we are urging supporters of local football to get behind the team,” said secretary Barry Spendley.

Manager Steven Hutchinson has doubts for the availability of ace marksman Chris Winn and goalkeeper Neal Atkinson, but expects Aaron Croft to return to the squad.

Seaham Red Star travel to Clitheroe and manager Mark Collingwood insists that he’s not going to sit on a bus for the near three-hour-long journey with nothing in the bag.

He said: “They are two leagues above us in the pyramid system and it’s going to be a tough ask, but we are up for it and hopefully we can come away with a result.”

Red Star’s only absentee is Josh Home Jackson.

In one of only four all-Northern League ties, Dunston UTS host Durham City.

UTS miss Danny Craggs and Jonny Wightman, but Stephen Harrison returns and secretary Bill Montague reckons it will be a cracking game between two well-matched sides.

“With almost £2,000 at stake for the winners, both sides will want to make it into the qualifying rounds,” said Montague.

“After losing our first two games, we’ve hit form and won the last four, so feel we are in with a chance.”

Durham City boss Ian Chandler watched his opponents defeat West Auckland on Tuesday night, doing what he described as “a bit of homework”.

He said: “We had a difficult extra preliminary round tie at Billingham Synthonia and it certainly won’t be any easier tomorrow. Their manager, Billy Irwin, always has a very organised side.”

City miss Chris Wallace and Stephen Stewart and goalkeeper Jordan Harkess is a doubt.

Chandler could name recent signings Nathan Lawrence and Stephen Molloy.

Bishop Auckland, the only team with a 100 per cent record in either division of the Northern League, will aim to make home advantage count against Jarrow Roofing.

“They’ve started really well and are a good footballing side which suits us,” said Roofing manager Richie McLoughlin.

“I’m expecting a really good tie although I could be without John Campbell, Brian Johnson and Ian Davidson.”

Consett meet Whickham without Michael Pearson or Scott Martindale.

In addition, manager Kenny Lindoe will need to check on the fitness of Josh Gray, but he’ll have at least 17 players available.

West Auckland, with Anth Smith now in charge, will have a big crowd for the visit of Darlington 1883, while Spennymoor Town look to get back to winning ways at Tadcaster Albion.