BEDLINGTON Terriers will make the short trip to Blyth Spartans this Saturday for what has been billed as the pick of the North East FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round.
The Terriers travel to Croft Park having previously eliminated Whickham, Billingham Town and Newcastle Benfield to progress to the mouth watering tie which will attract a bumper crowd to the home of the Blue Square Bet North side.
The Bedlington squad features a number of former Spartans players including Ian Graham who is excited for the match.
He said: “Its a very big game for both clubs.
“I have a lot of friends still playing for Blyth from my time there last season, but on the day it’s all about progressing to the next round.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
Graham isn’t the only player who is returning to face his former club, with Peter Snowdon, Colin Morton, John Brackstone, Stephen Harrison, Steven Stewart and Anthony Shandran all recently turning out for the Spartans, while Tony Lowery was formerly assistant manager.
Stewart is also looking forward to the game, adding: “Its going to be a great tie for both clubs and I think we have a good chance of an upset.
“I enjoyed my time at Blyth and it’s always nice to go back to Croft Park and see some old faces again.
“There will be a big crowd on Saturday which will make a great atmosphere and hopefully we will come away with the win.”
Goalkeeper Kevin Morton who lives in Blyth said: “I’m a Bedlington player, the same as the other ten lads who will take to the field against Blyth.
“Being from Blyth just makes it more interesting.
“This is the biggest game at this level I have played in.
“I cant wait for it, its going to be a great experience, one which I will put alongside playing in front of nearly 4000 fans in Buffalo.”
Chairman David Holmes was delighted at the cup draw.: “As Chairman of Bedlington Terriers CFC, I like everyone else who works or supports the club, craves days like Saturday,” he said.
To be involved in the FA Cup is magical in itself but to be drawn against one of our near neighbours adds even more to the excitement and anticipation.
“Blyth Spartans have always been a club which I greatly admire, ran by an excellent Chairman in Tony Platten and hard working Board of Directors, they have been a model on which I have based the development of Bedlington Terriers CFC.
“We have assembled a strong and talented squad this year and it is certainly the best bunch of players that I have had at the club since I took over in 2006 and therefore we go into this game with high hopes of pulling off a victory.
“The rewards for not only winning this game but further progression in the FA Cup are immense to a club like ours and this is something that Blyth have experienced very recently as well as their historical success in the cup.
“I hope that we can perform to our best and overcome Blyth’s cup tradition and advance to the next round.
“The game should be a great spectacle and has certainly caught the imagination of the public with a crowd of around 1000 expected.
“This is the sort of stage that my players will love to play on and really show the supporters of their abilities and potential.
“We certainly go into the game full of confidence, scoring a lot of goals and we have a great team spirit, so hopefully come 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon we will get the right result and then we can all remain dreaming of even more glory and excitement and who knows we could be playing in the first round proper against a league team.
“All of a sudden memories of 1999 and Colchester United come flooding back.”
Kick off on Saturday is at 3pm, entrance is £10 for adult and £5.50 for concessions. Under 10s are admitted free if accompanied by an adult.