STAND-in captain Liam Atkin admits he is no magician – but he is nevertheless hoping Ashington can ‘pull a performance out of the hat’ when they face Newport Pagnell in the fourth round of the FA Carlsberg Vase on Saturday.
And as Ashington go on a journey into the unknown, the central defender reckons his team-mates should fear no one – especially after defeating much fancied Spennymoor in an earlier round as they attempt to make history by reaching the last 16 of the competition.
Atkin said: “We will be going down to win the game – and I think we can.
“We beat Spennymoor in the last round and in doing so I reckon we knocked out the favourites, so it was a noteable achievement.
“Inevitably we want to win on Saturday, but if not, I would be happy with a draw and consequently bring them back to our place for a replay.
“We will be going to try and pull a performance out of the hat and we should not fear anyone – moreover teams should be frightened of us.”
Atkin continued: “We will approach the game with a bit of caution because Newport Pagnell are not a team we play on a regular basis and for all we are winning games at the moment, I don’t think we are receiving enough credit or gaining much respect.
“I’m quite happy with the way our season is panning out.
“We are seventh in the league, had a great run in the FA Cup and I thought we were brilliant in the first half against Newcastle United Reserves in the Sage Northumberland Senior Cup until fitness told in the end and the Magpies won 2-0.”
Atkin also reckons that manager Gary Middleton, assistant Neil Winskill and coach Ritchie Bond have laid the foundations for a bright future at Woodhorn Lane.
“Since I came to Ashington, I don’t think we have ever had a better squad – the management have assembled a really strong outfit,” he said.
“I know some of our latest additions are cup-tied but the victory at Spennymoor shows we can compete with the best and win any game – and I hope we are travelling back with smiles on our faces on Saturday night.”