Tough start to new campaign

Ashington could not have been dealt a more difficult opening day fixture than a trip to FA Vase holders Spennymoor Town on Saturday August 10.

The new fixtures were released at the League’s AGM on Saturday and Woodhorn Lane boss Gary Middleton said: “It couldn’t have been any tougher a start. With Darlington having taken promotion, even at this early stage, Spennymoor will be the favourites to win the championship next season but nevertheless it is a fixture which we will look forward too.”

Middleton pointed to past history as providing an incentive. “We always go to the Brewery Field and give Spennymoor a really tough game,” he said. “We have won there in recent years and have also collected good points – like the one we got from a good 0-0 draw last season – and it will be a game which they will look at and will not fancy first game up.

“Moors boss Jason Ainsley always comments to me that we are a tough nut to crack and it is a certainly a game for us which we will look forward too. We will hopefully have a full squad to choose from and will go there and relax and see what happens. We know anything we get will be a bonus.”

Ainsley’s thoughts mirrored that of his counterpart: “This is one of toughest games we could have been given. I expect Ashington to be challenging come the end of the season and even on day one, it’s a top of table clash.

“There will be two good sides on the park and it will be a very big game for both clubs. We know it is never easy against Ashington – and come August, it will be no different.”

The Colliers first home game of the campaign will be against Durham City on Tuesday, August 13, while they face a trip to Billingham Synthonia in the first round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup. Victory against the Teesiders would pitch Gary Middleton’s side into a home clash against Thornaby or Bedlington Terriers.