THE delay to Ashington CFC’s FA Vase tie with Shortwood United at Meadowbank has had extra beneficial consequences for the Woodhorn Lane outfit, according to manager Gary Middleton.
The tie, which was initially put back 24 hours to last Sunday with nearby Forest Green hosting Luton Town on the Saturday, eventually fell victim to the wintry weather conditions and was officially called off mid-morning on Friday.
Middleton, pictured, said: “Initially I was disappointed because we had prepared and organised to go down for the trip – but you can’t compensate for the weather.
“They had a three inches fall of snow during the early hours of Friday morning and there was nothing anyone could do about it.”
Ashington had planned to travel last Saturday to the team’s overnight headquarters with doubts surrounding midfielder James Taylor and striker Phill Bell.
But the extra week has now virtually guaranteed the Colliers boss a much stronger squad with the exception of Jonny Godsmark and Stephen Young through injury, as well as the cup-tied Tommy English and Marc Walton and ineligible Dan Taylor.
“If anything it puts us in a more prepared position,” he said.
“We trained on Saturday and will have another session during the week.
“Phill Bell and James Taylor both came through a workout including a full scale 11 versus 11 game and should be okay for Saturday, whilst recent signing Michael Tait – who would have missed the tie on Sunday due to a family commitment – will be available and will be a great addition to the squad.”
Shortwood boss John Evans was also disappointed with the intervention of the weather.
He said: “We would have had a bigger crowd, that’s for sure, because a lot of fans from clubs in the surrounding areas would have supported us had the game gone ahead on Sunday.
“Now on Saturday, Forest Green, who are across the valley from us and around three miles down the road, are at home to Gateshead and consequently our attendance will be affected.”
Evans has to reckon without striker Terry Bohane who is cup-tied having played in the previous round for Highworth, but otherwise the boss has a full squad at his disposal with no injuries or suspensions.
“We will train on Wednesday and may even try and get a training game in,” he said.
“We are third in the league, are in the semi-final of both the County Cup and Floodlit Cup, the League Cup quarter-finals and the FA Carlsberg Vase, and this is our biggest game since we lost at the same stage 1-0 at home to Forest Green in 1982 and more recently against Barwell who went on to reach the semi-finals.
“All I can ask of my lads is to give everything they have got.”