North Shields’ ex-Ashington striker Bainbridge ruled out of Woodhorn Lane fixture

Former Ashington FC striker Gareth Bainbridge in action before signing for North Shields. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Former Ashington FC striker Gareth Bainbridge in action before signing for North Shields. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

North Shields’ former Ashington striker Gareth Bainbridge makes his first return to Woodhorn Lane when the two sides meet on Saturday, December 20.

However, the 28-year-old will only have a watching brief as a hamstring injury has ruled him out for at least a month.

Bainbridge, the manager of a home that looks after adults with autism and learning difficulties in Sunderland, saw his hopes of playing against his ex-club dashed last week when he sprinted and pulled up which forced him to retire against Whitley Bay at Hillheads.

And the forward, who rifled 55 goals in all competitions last season and who won the Northern League Player of the Year award, said: “I was looking forward to going back to Ashington for the first time since I left, but the injury has scuppered that.

For the moment though, I can reflect on my ‘silent’ hat-trick when we beat the Colliers 3-2 recently.

The first part of it was to play in the game; the second to secure a win and the third was to get a goal.

“I never felt as if we were out of the game because we are so confident in our own ability.

“At half-time and at 2-0 down, there was stacks of belief amongst the squad.”

Bainbridge, who spent five years with the Woodhorn Lane club, has plundered 30 goals so far this term, including three hat-tricks.

He added: “Until this setback, things have gone brilliantly for me since I joined North Shields and I was always confident that I could score plenty of goals.”

Meanwhile, the forward, who paid tribute to the management team of boss Graham Fenton, assistant Andy Bowman and coach Brian Smith, has revealed that Shields will treat Saturday’s contest as another game.

“Our objective will be to get three points,” he said.

“And I cannot speak highly enough of the management who go about things in a professional manner and prepare us properly. The trio are a perfect blend.”