Northern League: Fired-up Washington determined to derail Shildon again
Washington manager Steve Hutchinson claims his side fears no-one after defeating Ebac Northern League leaders Shildon in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday night.
The sides meet again in Division One tomorrow – this time at Dean Street – and Hutchinson is confident of racking up a sixth consecutive win.
“We beat them fair and square and the 3-0 scoreline in no way flattered us,” said Hutchinson.
“Confidence is a big thing in this game and we are top of the tree at the moment, although in no way complacent.
“It’s a fact, though, that we’ve won the last five matches, scoring nine goals and conceding just one.
“If you don’t concede, then you don’t get beat and this has been one of our strengths this season.”
A win at Shildon would lift the Mechanics into fourth place behind Shildon, who will still be in pole position regardless of the results elsewhere, Guisborough Town and Morpeth Town.
“These are still early days, but victory tomorrow would really put us in the frame for the championship,” said Hutchinson.
“We got off to a flier, going 10 games unbeaten and although we hit a bit of a blip, we’ve really come good again and the place is absolutely buzzing.”
Paul Wardle and Chris Wallace, who both played for Durham City in earlier rounds, were ineligible on Tuesday but come into Hutchinson’s plans for tomorrow’s re-match.
Seaham Red Star, who are just below halfway in the table, face a difficult test at Marske United.
Although the Seasiders are seventh, they have five games in hand on the leading pair and are still in with a chance of retaining the title.
The Star have signed prolific striker David Paul from Second Division neighbours Easington Colliery and he goes straight into the squad, but Ryan Noble and Carl Thorpe are definite absentees.
Darren Reay took a knock in last week’s game and will need to have his fitness assessed before manager Mark Collingwood can name his squad.
“It will be a difficult match. They knocked us out of the FA Cup and are a very good side, especially at home. But our lads will be up for it,” claimed Star secretary David Copeland.
Durham City, who have taken just three points from the last seven games, meet Ashington at their temporary Consett headquarters.
Boss Chris Moore has signed Adam Storey from Silksworth CW and he goes straight into the squad, but Mike King is ruled out.
“Ashington got a result against Whitley Bay in midweek and are a decent side so it will be a tough challenge,” said Moore.
Jarrow Roofing are sixth from bottom, only a point behind the Citizens, but they do have five games in hand.
Manager Richie McLoughlin says it is time to put points on the board, starting in the home fixture with Penrith, when his only absentee will be the injured Anth Myers.
West Auckland host Newcastle Benfield, while Bishop Auckland are at home to Whitley Bay and Guisborough visit West Allotment.