MICK Tait has challenged his Blyth Spartans players to use the remainder of the season to seal their starting places in the Sage Northumberland Senior Cup final, writes STEVE BROWN.
The Croft Park club beat Northern League outfit Newcastle Benfield 2-0 in last Wednesday’s semi-final at Sam Smith’s Park, and await Newcastle United Reserves or Ashington in the St James’ Park final.
Before then Blyth have six league games left, starting at Hinckley United today.
And while Tait and his players’ hopes of making the Blue Square Bet North play-offs are receding, the Spartans boss insists there is plenty left to play for this season.
“We’re delighted to have reached the Senior Cup final, it gives us something to look forward to,” said Tait, whose only doubt is Phil Cave (knee).
“It was a tough old game against Benfield, they had a right go, as we expected.
“We knew we’d have to match them physically, we did that, stood up to them and the early goal helped.
“Once they had Adam Scope sent off we just said to the lads that the game was won as long as they didn’t do anything daft.
“We didn’t need to chase another goal, we felt that would come. It wasn’t pretty but we weren’t there to entertain.
“We were there to get to a final, we haven’t been there in a while and now the lads have that to look forward to.
“It’s been a case of ‘almost’ in a lot of things this season, so this is a big boost for them.
“It keeps everyone playing, because they’ll want to start in the final. We’ll keep going anyway in the hope that someone above us in the table slips up.
“But this is an added incentive to stay on top of our game.
“We’ve won our last four, which is a nice little run and one we’d like to keep going until the end of the season.
“That’ll be difficult because there are some good teams in this league and if you’re not somewhere between 90 and 100 per cent, you’ll get turned over.
“Hinckley are a funny one because we’ve beaten them quite easily at our place over the last couple of seasons but they do all right at theirs.
“They’re down in the bottom half of the table, but we’ll still have to be at our best and if we do things right, we should get a positive result.”