Sunderland RCA boss Swales gets preparations just right for ‘massive’ FA Vase tie

Sunderland RCA's James Cassidy (red) battles against Shildon last week. Picture by Kevin Brady

Sunderland RCA's James Cassidy (red) battles against Shildon last week. Picture by Kevin Brady

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Sunderland RCA are raring to go in their “massive game” in the fifth round of the Buildbase FA Vase tomorrow.

The Meadow Park men make the long trip south to face Buckinghamshire outfit Newport Pagnell Town.

RCA must endure a 460-mile round trip to play the 10th-placed team from the United Counties League Premier Division.

Last season, RCA suffered a heartbreaking exit in extra time at home to Bristol Manor Farm at this stage of the competition, but hopes are high of progress this year, following on from earlier wins against Stockton Town, Dunston UTS and AFC Mansfield.

Manager Martin Swales said: “It’s a massive game and we have been preparing properly.

“We’re travelling down on Friday and staying in London on Friday evening to fully prepare for the game.

“We want to eliminate them from the competition and carry on into the next round and we are looking forward to maintaining our current run of form.”

Influential player James Armstrong is out with a hamstring injury and there will be fitness tests for Michael Charlton and Steve Callen.

RCA must do without Ross Preston and Adam McGuinness, who are both cup-tied.

With two full buses of supporters, RCA are calling on all Sunderland AFC fans who live locally or are members of the Peterborough, London, Heart of England or North Hertfordshire supporters branches to get along and support the club in one of the biggest matches in their history.

South Shields will have superb backing when they make their even longer trip to Team Solent, which is a massive 666-mile round trip.

More than 300 supporters are making the trek to the Southampton-based university club, who sit in sixth place in the Wessex League’s Premier Division.

Shields secretary Philip Reay said: “Julio Arca is available again for selection after his one-match suspension and we will have a full squad to choose from.

“It will be a headache for the manager as to who he will bring in, after our superb victory against Jarrow Roofing last Saturday, beating them 7-0.

“We’re looking forward to the game and hoping for a victory to take us into sixth round. The lads trained on Tuesday night and had a further session on Thursday before flying down today.

“We are doing everything we can, to ensure they’re in good condition for the game.”

Shields have beaten Esh Winning, Runcorn Linnets, Marske United, Staveley MW and Morpeth Town on their way to the fifth round.