Ashington High School Under-18s are looking to reach the last 16 of the ESFA National Cup next week.
Having already reached the last 32 they are aiming for more glory when they take on Carlisle-based William Howard on ,December 18, at Ashington CFC’s Woodhorn Lane ground with a 3pm kick-off.
Team manager Marc Nash said: “We have never got through to this stage of the competition in the history of the school before.
“The guys are delighted that the game is being staged at Woodhorn Lane to fit the occasion and we would like to say a massive thanks to the club for hosting it.
“The lads are buzzing and they seem to have gained momentum with this competition and it has the feel of a cup final by playing at the home of Ashington – so we will need to keep them grounded.”
Three years ago Ashington High were knocked out at the last 64 by Kings College – and as this tie approaches, Nash anticipates a closely fought contest.
“I don’t know too much about Castle Howard except they seem to be a normal high school like us,” he said.
“Similar to us, they have been winning by the odd goal so it looks like we are well matched.
“I know the lads are looking forward to it and there’s a buzz around the school, but I have played in big games and it’s important that they don’t let the occasion get in the way of the game itself, so I’ll be reminding them that there is a job to do.”
Nash is also hoping for the public of Wansbeck to rally round and support the team – as well as the students from the school, which is situated in Green Lane.
Nash added: “Admission is free so we are hoping that the people turn out in force.
“Our school finishes at 2.30pm in the afternoon and obviously we would be delighted to get a following from staff, students and the community.
“I think the boys have earned a day to remember win or lose and the public could play a part in that by coming down and supporting an occasion that will not come around all that often.”
Nash admits that trimming his squad down from 26 to 18 will not be an easy task but boasts a record breaking striker as well as a keeper in fine fettle.
“Adam Bains broke the football development record in the last round,” he added.
“Ross Jeffrey previously held it with a haul of 37 goals but Adam is now on 39, with 16 coming this season alone, whilst Cameron Bowman is our first choice keeper who has been in superb form and he will be backed up on the day by Dan Ramsden.
“I have no injury worries at this stage but know there will be some tough decisions to make,” he said.
Ashington High School Sports College’s path to the last 32 has come from a bye in the first round, a 9-0 win at Park View in the second, a 3-2 success at home against St Cuthbert’s in the third, a 2-1 victory at home over Monkseaton in the fourth and a similar scoreline in the fifth round at home to Trinity College.