Ashhgton boss seeks ‘rock solid’ show against Scarborough in FA Cup

Ashington lay aside their indifferent league form this weekend as they turn their attentions to the magic of the FA Cup.

On Saturday they come up against Scarborough Athletic at Woodhorn Lane in the first qualifying round.

Manager Gary Middleton was amongst the crowd last midweek when Scarborough ousted North Shields after a penalty shoot-out in a game which was certainly action packed with four dismissals and five penalties awarded during the 120 minutes.

And as he prepares his squad for Saturday’s clash against the outfit from the North Yorkshire seaside resort, the boss is looking for his side to be ‘rock’ solid.

Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of neighbours Morpeth Town represented the first time this season where the Colliers have not found the net in eight outings.

But on the other hand they have also shipped 13 goals, with the FA Cup replay against Holker Old Boys the only time when they have achieved a clean sheet.

Only last season, Scarborough knocked the Colliers off the FA Cup trail as they administered a 4-1 defeat in the preliminary round at the end of August.

And as he looked ahead to the contest, Middleton said: “The replay at North Shields came in very handy as I had the opportunity to watch our opponents at first hand.

“It was a pulsating tie without question – and in a nutshell I know that we will need to perform a lot better than we did against Morpeth if we are to have any chance of making further progress.”

Scarborough meanwhile moved into third from top of the Evo Stik Northern Premier first division north table on Saturday when they came from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory over Prescot Cables with Gary Bradshaw levelling seven minutes from time before Jordan Thewlis got the winner for The Seadogs in the 90th minute.

They have so far won four of their opening five matches and were due to visit Ossett Town on Tuesday.

On the Ashington team news front, skipper Andrew Johnson, Lance McGlen and James Novak – who all missed the defeat by Morpeth – are again injury concerns.

“On one hand I am hopeful about all three but on the other pessimistic with the way things are going for us at the moment,” added Middleton.

Should the game go to a replay, it will be staged at Bridlington’s Queensgate ground on Tuesday, September 16, with a 7.45pm kick-off.