Gateshead's play-off preparations set to ramp up as National League confirm fixture dates

Gateshead’s preparations for the National League North play-offs were ramped up on Saturday when the league confirmed their fixtures schedule.

Saturday, 4th July 2020, 1:05 pm
Updated Saturday, 4th July 2020, 1:06 pm
Gateshead have seen their National League North play-off dates confirmed

Mike Williamson’s side will return to training at Hebburn Town’s Green Energy Sports Ground this week as they look to prepare for their eliminator round tie at former FA Trophy winners Brackley Town.

That fixture will take place on Sunday 19th July with a 3pm kick-off and the Heed will face another road trip if they are successful in claiming a win at St James Park.

Boston United would be their destination in the play-off semi-final on Saturday 25th July and the league also announced that the play-off final is scheduled for Saturday 1st August.

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All play-off fixtures will take place behind closed doors as the league continues to abide by the government’s advice on the return of elite sport.

In line with that advice, the Gateshead players and staff have undergone two rounds of Covid-19 testing over the last fortnight and will receive a further test over the next two days in line with government and league guidelines.

The club revealed that their initial tests had returned with no positive results, paving the way for training to resume this week.

Former Newcastle United defender Williamson received a triple boost earlier this week after loan stars Brad James, Jake Cooper and Liam Agnew all agreed to return to the club to take part in the bid to make an immediate return to non-league’s top tier.

All three loan extensions are still subject to approval by the Football Association, although no issues are expected to arise over the coming days.

The future of another former loanee remains unclear after young winger Dom Tear was released by parent club Huddersfield Town.

Meanwhile, there was movement behind the scenes at the International Stadium this week as Bernard McWilliams was named as the club’s new vice-chairman.

After his appointment was confirmed, lifelong Heed supporters McWilliams told the club website: “I am honoured that the board have the confidence in me to take over the role of vice-chairman.

“I would first of all like to thank Trevor for all the hard work and dedication he has shown over the last season.

“Rest assured, I will do all that I can to support Neil and the board of directors whilst representing the great fanbase we have.

“I also look forward to working closely with the trustees of Gateshead FC Foundation to help build the connection of our club to the wider Gateshead community.”