GATESHEAD are praying it will be third time lucky tonight as they prepare to face Barrow in the FA Trophy.
The third-round tie has already been postponed twice after the wintry weather left the International Stadium pitch unplayable, and the clubs agreed last week to switch the fixture to Barrow’s Furness Building Society Stadium.
Cumbria has not escaped the ravages of the weather, however, and there will be a pitch inspection at 1pm today before a final decision is made concerning tonight’s tie.
Barrow posted a statement on their official website yesterday saying: “Barrow AFC are hopeful that Tuesday's FA Trophy game with Gateshead at Furness Building Society Stadium will go ahead.
“The pitch is not frozen but now has a light covering of snow.
“Conditions will continue to be monitored, with a formal inspection at 1pm.”
Despite conceding home advantage, Gateshead boss Anth Smith is hoping the game will be on after three weeks of inactivity for his players.
“It was been a very frustrating month, to be honest,” said Smith.
“I haven’t been in charge long and I am keen to put my stamp on things, but I haven’t had the chance to do that because we have lost so many games to the weather.
“But from what I heard yesterday, it looks promising for tonight – barring a heavy snowfall overnight, of course.
“The only problem now is the travelling, because the A66 was closed yesterday and the A69 wasn’t great either.
“We’ll just have to find a way around that.
“We have to prepare as though the game is on, until told otherwise.”
Gateshead have not played since losing 1-0 against Barrow at the International Stadium on New Year’s Day and, while the long break has been a source of frustration, it has at least had some benefits.
Smith said: “The one good thing to come out of it is that there has been time for a few injury concerns to clear up and we will have a full squad to pick from tonight.
“We know that there are a lot of games for us to cram in between now and the end of the season, and we’ll be playing two or maybe even three games per week at times, but at least we’ve got everybody available at the moment.”
The winners will face a fourth round trip to Blue Square Bet North side Gainsborough Trinity, with that game due to be played this weekend.