Birmingham biggest game of career for Blyth Spartans’ Nicholson

Blyth Spartans full back Alex Nicholson paid tribute to the club’s supporters ahead of the FA Cup third round tie with SkyBet Championship side Birmingham City.

The Green Army have travelled in their numbers during a cup run that started in September at Darlington and has taken them to places such as Mickleover, Skelmersdale and Leek.

The numbers were swelled in the first round proper clash with Conference side Altrincham at Croft Park, and more than 1,100 Spartans supporters travelled to Victoria Park to see the giant-killing of Hartlepool United.

Wales Under-19 international Nicholson said that support is important and looked forward to seeing it again when the Blues come to Northumberland on Saturday.

“The fans have been great home and away all season,” he said.

“As a player when you can hear your supporters getting behind you it gives you a huge boost, so we will need them to do just than on Saturday, which I am sure they will.”

Nicholson said the game with Gary Rowett’s side is the biggest of his career so far.

The defender, who as well as playing international football for Wales also played for Newcastle United’s academy and reserve sides, enthused about a competition that has provided him with many great memories this season.

He said: “Obviously playing international football was great but this is by far the biggest game I’ve played in.

“After all it is the FA Cup and that beats anything really. It’s what you watch when you are growing up and it’s great to be able to play in it.”

After his release from Preston North End at the end of last season, Nicholson joined Spartans initially on trial in pre-season before signing in late July.

He quickly established himself in his favoured right back position but has had some competition for his place in the side recently.

New addition Joel Dixon and the versatile Damen Mullen have both had recent appearances in Nicholson’s absence and have impressed.

However, he insists competition can only be a good thing for any player.

“Competition is great because I think without it you can tend to get comfortable in your position. That means you will stop pushing yourself to do better,” he said.