On-song Washington fired up for Runcorn Linnets FA Cup clash

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Such is their confidence, Washington cannot wait for tomorrow’s FA Cup first qualifying round tie against Runcorn Linnets at the Nissan Sports Complex (3pm kick-off).

Manager Steven Hutchinson enthused: “We’ve made an unbelievable start to the season.

“Who would have thought before a ball was kicked that we would be in the top three of the Ebac Northern League First Division with five wins and a draw from six games?

“In addition, we defeated Brandon United in the FA Carlsberg Vase and AFC Darwen and West Auckland Town in the FA Cup.

“That’s eight wins and a draw, which is just great.”

The newly-promoted Mechanics have confounded the critics, especially after defeating leaders Shildon in magnificent style on Tuesday night.

“To get a result against Shildon was exceptional, but we’ve not got to be complacent and rest on our laurels,” added Hutchinson.

Chris Winn, Michael Tait and Joe Walton definitely return for Washington tomorrow and there’s a good chance that Aaron Croft and Mark Davison will successfully come through fitness tests.

“Runcorn have beaten the two top teams in the North West Counties League away from home and will be no pushovers, but one thing’s for certain, we’re up for the task,” declared Hutchinson.

Of the seven Northern League sides in the competition, three are at home.

In addition to Washington, Jarrow Roofing host Congleton Town and boss Richie McLoughlin is confident, especially with Shaun Vipond and Corey Barnes returning to the squad, despite the 3-1 midweek league defeat at Penrith.

Consett entertain Colne who manager Colin Myers watched at Padiham on Tuesday night.

He said: “I did the same before we played Scarborough Athletic in the previous round and our tactics worked a treat.

“I’m giving nothing away, but the lads will be prepared tomorrow.”

The Steelmen, though, must do without Dan Madden, Ryan Bell and Luke Sullivan.

Dunston UTS travel to Kendal Town minus Michael Dixon and Scott Martindale, but manager Billy Irwin is hopeful that Malcolm Morien, Michael Pearson and Dale Burrell will be available.

Whitley Bay, buoyant after crushing Bishop Auckland 7-0 in midweek, visit Matlock Town and boss Paddy Atkinson includes Richard Flynn and Johnny Redhead in a full-strength squad.

In the remaining ties, Guisborough Town go to Lancashire club Ashton United, while Newton Aycliffe are at Yorkshire outfit Brighouse Town.