Tough draws for teams in the FA Cup

The FA Cup.
The FA Cup.

GARY Middleton stressed at the weekend that his management team would have to ‘do there homework’ after the draws for the early stages of the FA Cup were released on Friday.

Ashington CFC boss Middleton’s team will face Sunderland RCA at Woodhorn Lane in the extra preliminary round on August 11 – a week before the start of their Ebac Northern League campaign.

The Sunderland side admonished comprehensive 5-1 and 4-0 victories over Middleton’s team last term with lanky striker Andrew Jennings causing all sorts of problems in the match under lights at Woodhorn Lane.

Middleton said: “It’s going to be a tough encounter as we found out last season.

“We’ll have to be at our best early doors, which is a challenge in itself, and out of the blocks very quickly and a top performance will be needed.

“There are easier games we could have had in the opening round, but we can’t do anything about it and will have to get on with the situation in hand.”

The winners travel to play either Marske United or Stokesley in the preliminary round on August 25 and further progress will present a home challenge against either North Shields, Birtley, Liversedge or last season’s losing FA Carlsberg Vase finalists West Auckland in the first qualifying round on September 8.

“We’ll take one game at a time,” insisted Middleton.

Meanwhile the Woodhorn Lane outfit will not feature in the first three rounds of this season’s FA Vase as a reward for reaching the last 16 in the 2011-12.

Instead, Middleton’s side will enter at the second round proper stage of the competition.

Blyth Spartans, meanwhile, will host either Garforth Town or Wakefield in the first qualifying round of the competition on Saturday, September 8.

And in the FA Trophy, Spartans have been drawn away to Witton Albion in the first round qualifying, with the tiw to be played on Saturday, September 29.

Bedlington Terriers also have a home draw in the FA Cup.

They welcome near neighbours Morpeth Town to Welfare Park on Saturday, August 11 in the extra preliminary round.

The winners of the tie will face a trip to either fellow Northern League outfit Whitley Bay or their first opponents Bridlington Town.

In the FA Carlsberg Vase Morpeth Town will travel to Marske United on Saturday, September 1, in the first qualifying round with the winners hosting Whitehaven.

The second qualifying round sees Bedlington Terriers welcome Darlington Railway Athletic or Eccleshill United.