Blyth Spartans are gearing up for the biggest game of the season as they take on SkyBet Championship side Birmingham City in the FA Cup Third Round on Saturday.
The Spartans will be backed by a sell-out crowd of 3,900 – with just over 1,000 City fans making the trip north to Northumberland – after the tickets sold within hours of going on sale.
FA Cup fever has gripped the town with fans hoping for a repeat of the cup run from 1977/78 which saw Blyth make it to the Fifth Round, coming within seconds of another cup upset, this time against Welsh side Wrexham.
And in 2009, Blyth were beaten 1-0 in the Third Round by then Premier League side Blackburn Rovers.
Now players and fans are gearing up for the big game, after they defeated Hartlepool United in the Second Round.
Midfielder Neal Hooks said: “The game against Birmingham is certainly the biggest of my time at Croft Park and it’s in the top three of my career. We’ve done so well to get this far and hopefully we can create further history with a good result on Saturday.”
Fellow midfielder Daniel Hawkins added: “It has been a great season so far and hopefully it will continue to be that way.
“I used to just watch the Cup on TV and never could have imagined that I would be playing in the first round never mind the third round.”
Defender Nathan Buddle said: “I think Birmingham will be a massive step up.
“They are in the Championship for a reason and they are six divisions higher than we are. There is no doubt we are the massive underdogs but we will go out and give it our all, then who knows what might happen on the day.”