PHIL Cave still has a lot of friends at the International Stadium, but the Blyth Spartans FC left back would like nothing more than to knock his old team out of the FA Trophy on Saturday.
Cave made a total of 76 appearances for the Heed, which included a loan spell whilst at Scottish club Livingston, and knows how important this game is for both teams.
He said: “I still speak to about five or six of them regularly and I know they’ll be really up for it, I just hope we can get the win on the day.
“It’s a massive game for both clubs, neither have had a good run in the Trophy like this for a long time.”
Cave is one of six former Gateshead players in the Spartans squad and is naturally relishing the occasion and is adamant the Croft Park crowd can make a huge difference.
“They can give you that extra ten per cent when you need it so we’ve certainly got the upper hand in that respect,” said the defender.
He believes that Blyth showed they can mix it with the big boys when they defeated Blue Square Premier sides Fleetwood Town and Altrincham in earlier rounds, and have nothing to fear when facing another team from that level.
He added: “It’s obviously important we show them some respect but not too much because I don’t think there is a big difference between the two sides.
“We have a lot of quality players who could play at a higher level, so if we play our own game we can certainly cause them problems.”
The 23-year-old will be assigned with the task of keeping his former team-mate Martin Brittain quiet on Saturday, and Cave realises the threat posed by Gateshead’s right winger.
Cave said. “I’ve known Brit for years, we were at Newcastle and then Gateshead together and I’ve played against him in training a lot.
“He has great ability on the ball and excellent delivery in to the area, we know each other’s games so it should be an interesting battle.”