Ashington CFC’s Glen Taylor would like nothing better than for the Colliers to make a swift return to St James’ Park.
This is even though the self confessed Sunderland fan lists the Stadium of Light as being his number one arena.
First, however, before Taylor and his team-mates can even contemplate talk of a second visit to Gallowgate in the space of a year, they face a severe test in the semi-final of the Techflow Group Northumberland Senior Cup against neighbours Blyth Spartans at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday, March 18.
Taylor, a former Spartans player, will use a tried and tested method ahead of the tie, repeating his match day ritual of almost 12 months ago when the Wansbeck side claimed the trophy for the first time in 33 years after a convincing 3-0 victory over Whitley Bay.
For the 23-year-old – who works for the Newcastle United Foundation and whose offices are based within the stadium – will gee himself up by taking a look inside the ground hours before the 7.30pm kick off.
“I’m itching to play again at St James’ Park,” he said.
“Lifting the Senior Cup last season represented the first thing I have won as a player and it was unbelievable.
“I work for the foundation and although the offices don’t overlook the ground, I plan to take a look at the pitch on Tuesday.
“I did that before the final last year and although there was obviously no atmosphere, I found it a surreal experience.”
Taylor recalls two previous clashes against Blyth – one more distinct in his mind that the other.
He said: “Ashington were battered 4-0 in a friendly against them at Croft Park before I left to join the Spartans.
“But the other occasion was when I was only 18 and I played a lone role up front – and we won 3-2 in extra time (in the Senior Cup) in one of the best games we have had against them.
“I’m looking forward to coming up against my old club and obviously would love the same kind of result.”
Taylor is fully aware that the Colliers will have to be at their best.
“We know we will have to be at the top of our game on Tuesday,” he said.
“The past few weeks we have hit a sticky spell considering the standards we have set, but we are still doing really well.
“However, we are still fourth in league as we aim for a top six finish and are in two cup competitions – and we couldn’t really ask for much more than that to be fair.”