Ashington expecting a big crowd for visit of Quakers

ASHINGTON are hoping their game against Darlington 1883 this weekend attracts a bumper crowd.

The Ebac Northern League division one leaders are at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

Since leaving Portland Park and moving to their new headquarters in 2008, the Colliers have had two significant attendances – attracting over 1,600 for a friendly against Newcastle United and 800 for an FA Cup game against Guiseley.

Club chairman Ian Lavery said: “It is a massive game for the club. We are anticipating somewhere in the region of 1,000 or more supporters and are informing the police and expecting to have St John Ambulance in attendance.

“We are operating extra turnstiles on the day including a correct change turnstile which will hopefully speed up entrance to the ground.

“We do, however, urge supporters to arrive in good time and to turn up sooner than usual.

“The main car park at the club will be blocked off for players and officials only and we encourage everyone to have a good day.

“We are not anticipating any problems and have decided not to go for segregation of supporters because we do not feel that it is necessary.

“Newcastle United are going to provide stewards, and believe me, a lot of arrangements have gone into organising this match.”

Ashington boss Gary Middleton said: “It is a big game for the club and the town in general with the visit of an ex-Football League club coming to Woodhorn Lane.

“It is fantastic for the club’s supporters and for the area that a team like Darlington, who were in the Football Conference until last season, are coming.

“But from a management and playing point of view, we will be treating it like any other game and will not be preparing any differently.”

Middleton is hoping his side will erase the memory of a 6-1 defeat against the Quakers five months ago in mid-October.

“It was a disappointing performance in the manner in which we lost, so we have a score to settle with them,” he said.

“And it will be a great occasion playing against a side who are desperate to be promoted. That in itself will add a lot of spice to the contest.”

On the team news for the Colliers, Phill Bell and David Molloy are unavailable through injury whilst work commitments rule out skipper Liam Atkin.

Midfielder Andrew Dugdale broke down in training on Saturday but James Taylor should come back into the equation, and there is good news concerning Gareth Bainbridge.

The striker, who dislocated his shoulder against Billingham Town at the end of January, has made excellent progress and after returning to the squad will face a fitness test ahead of the 3pm kick-off.