HIS personal wishes may not exactly meet with the whole approval of his family, but Bedlington’s striker Anthony Shandran would willingly swap a Christmas present for a derby hat-trick when the Terriers host local rivals Ashington in the Boxing Day derby meeting at Welfare Park.
Shandran, a plasterer by trade, would love nothing better than to cement a double over the Colliers this term after he plundered a hat-trick in the Terriers’ convincing and thoroughly deserved 4-1 success back in late August at Woodhorn Lane.
However, Shandran, pictured, is hoping first and foremost to shake off the effects of a calf injury which forced him to be withdrawn after only ten minutes in Saturday’s STL Northern League first division contest at Billingham Synthonia.
He said said: “I felt a twinge in my calf and I’ll have treatment this week in the hope of being fit, but I would definitely trade in a Christmas present for another hat-trick – that would be nice.”
The 30-year-old striker, who has plundered 20 league goals and taken his tally to an overall 30 with cup strikes, reckons the clash will be tougher than the early season encounter.
“Ashington have been doing well since we beat them at Woodhorn Lane,” he said.
“They had that great run in the FA Cup and tightened things up at the back.
“We ourselves have been on a good run of form and I think it will be a close affair.
“I believe there will be goals – but it will be a lot closer.
“Derby games are always good to play in and are equally as good for the fans – but I will be gutted if I don’t recover in time and am forced to sit it out.”
Ashington goalkeeper Karl Dryden, a former Terrier, believes his side will have to keep an eye on Shandran.
The 23-year-old stopper, who was custodian at Welfare Park for two seasons, said: “Anthony has a physical presence and poses quite a threat. We must keep him at bay.
“If we play as well as we can do as a back five we should be okay – but if we allow him as much time as we did in the previous outing, then he will be a handful.
“It’s all about how we perform on the day.”
Meanwhile Terriers secretary and head groundsman David Collop is hoping the Arctic weather relents so that the tie can get the go-ahead.
Collop said at the weekend: “Three quarters of the pitch is rolled and we are hoping to complete the task early in the week.
“It is the top goalmouth which is the problem because it does not get the sun, but we will use protective matting in that area and will be doing everything in our power to get the game on.
“The weather forecast is good for the end of the week with temperatures forecast to rise so at this moment in time I would not see a problem with the game taking place.”