Christensen honoured to be asked by Harmison to be captain

Ashington defender Ben Christensen in action against West Auckland. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington defender Ben Christensen in action against West Auckland. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
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Victory over Guisborough at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday (March 3) in the quarter-final of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup would be the perfect scenario for Ashington’s interim skipper Ben Christensen.

The defender – cup-tied last season when the Colliers reached the semi-final before capitulating 4-1 at home to Marske United – is hoping to lead his side into the last four and then go one better than last season.

And whilst the 28-year-old readily anticipates nothing short of a tough encounter against the Priorymen, he reckons the Teessiders will not be relishing a trip up to Wansbeck.

“It’s an important game because it presents us with an opportunity to end what has been a disappointing season positively,” he said.

“They are a good side challenging for the Northern League title and we were well beaten by them recently.

“But the lads are buzzing and on our day are confident of beating anybody, whilst I’m sure Guisborough will not be looking forward to a midweek trip to our place.”

The full back, a pastoral supervisor at Gosforth Junior High School, has called on the supporters to play a role which could be significant.

The fans are important and they have been fantastic since the appointment of Steve Harmison and the new management team,” he said.

“However, they need to keep that going with plenty of vocal support on the night and effectively be our 12th man, which could make all the difference.”

Christensen, who earlier in his career captained Sunderland’s youth team and on a couple of occasions Sunderland Reserves, admits he was taken aback when Harmison offered him the opportunity to deputise and lead the side in the absence of injured pair Andrew Johnson and James Taylor.

“Steve took me to one side and when he asked me I was surprised and obviously flattered,” said Christensen, whose former clubs in non league football include Blyth Spartans, Bedlington and Shildon.

“Steve talked about the experienced players leading the younger lads and it’s a real honour for me.

“This is the first time I have been given the armband with a club in the Northern League and I am really proud and will be trying to inspire the lads, even if it is for the short term.”

Kick off on Tuesday is 7.45pm.