Sunderland RCA geared up for tricky FA Vase tie at AFC Mansfield

Sunderland RCA defender Greg Swansbury takes on Marske United (green).
Sunderland RCA defender Greg Swansbury takes on Marske United (green).
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Sunderland RCA are fired up for a “tricky tie” as their Buildbase FA Vase ambitions go on the line at AFC Mansfield tomorrow.

RCA got to the fifth round last season and will match that feat if they can see off Mansfield, who are mid-table in the Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division.

Manager Martin Swales said ahead of the visit to the Forest Town Stadium: “It will be a tricky tie.

“We finished in the last 16 last year, and appreciate that this will be a difficult game, but will hopefully come away with a result.

“Adam McGuinness and Ross Preston are not available due to being cup-tied, while youngster Brad Wilson is out with a calf strain.

“But experienced striker John Butler will return after a three match suspension, and Luke Richardson is back from holiday.

“Reece Noble has re-signed and comes back into the squad from Washington.”

Shildon welcome Atherton Collieries, who are sitting third in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

They have previously beaten Northern League sides Penrith and Jarrow Roofing in earlier rounds and have scored 66 goals in 24 league games this season, so the Railwaymen expect a tough task.

Chairman David Dent said: “The game represents a really exciting tie.

“Whilst they will no doubt install us as favourites, we are well aware of the quality within their squad and to go and beat Penrith away, as comprehensively as they did in the last round, is a good illustration of their abilities.

“We know that Atherton will bring a large following to the game and to help us progress I know the management team and players would really appreciate the backing of a big Shildon crowd.

“We have a fantastic squad with some FA Vase winners in the team who will thrive in front of a big crowd.”

South Shields play holders Morpeth Town in a very attractive tie.

Former Washington left-back Anthony Callaghan is cup-tied, while several players will return after being rested for Monday’s Durham Challenge Cup win over Jarrow Roofing, including Julio Arca and recent signing Michael Richardson.

Secretary Philip Reay said: “Hopefully we will progress in the competition. We went out last year in the third round against Morpeth, who subsequently went on to win, so it would be nice to progress ourselves to the fifth round.”

Shields joint manager Lee Picton added: “Hopefully the quality and the support that we’ll have on the day will be some of the defining factors to help us finish on the right side of the line.

“It’s a huge game for everybody concerned and we’re looking forward to getting another big crowd behind us at Mariners Park.”

Morpeth have just one injury doubt, in Michael Chilton.

Manager Nick Gray said: “It will be a tough game - they’re favourites to win. We’re just going to try our best to get through to the next round and the lads are looking forward to the game.”

Second Division high-fliers Billingham Town entertain Cleethorpes Town and will have their work cut out to progress to the next round.

The visitors are currently top of the Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division, having won eight of their last 10 games, scoring 89 goals in 26 league matches this season.

The Teessiders, though, are on a roll themselves, winning five of their last six league games and being the top goalscorers in Division Two to date, with 70 goals from 23 matches.

Pacy frontman Craig Hutchinson holds the key to their chances of victory.