MICK Tait insists his Blyth Spartans side head into tonight’s Sage Northumberland Senior Cup final against Newcastle United Reserves with more on their mind than to merely make up the numbers.
Peter Beardsley wants numbers too – in the St James’ Park stands.
The 126th year of the competition pits the Spartans against the Magpies at 7pm this evening (£5 adults, £2 concessions).
Blyth have won it 20 times but not since 1994, United a record 32 times.
While Beardsley (pictured right) is keen to see football fans turn out in force to enhance an already “great experience”, Tait says his side are fully focused on trying to win the trophy. He said: “We are going into the game not just to take part, but to win. The players and everyone at the club wants to pick up the trophy.
“It will be difficult as they have good players, but so do we.
“It is unfortunate we go into the match on the back of poor form, which came about when we realised we could not get in to the play-offs for promotion.
“Even in the matches where we did not get results, like at Boston and Worcester, we did have good spells.
“Our problem is we have not been scoring goals and this puts pressure on the defence and the whole team.
“However, I am confident we can do well on Wednesday.”
Spartans, though, will have to attempt to do so without attacking midfielder Nicky Deverdics, after he joined Icelandic side IA.
Tait added: “I believe he has a get-out clause which could see him return to England in July.
“He does not work so he has had to go to find football.”
Meanwhile, Beardsley – who has James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, Phil Airey and former Walker Central midfielder Michael Richardson available – added: “Playing in front of a big crowd really does make a difference.
“It is a great experience for the lads to play at St James’ and it is the same for Blyth, but it will be even better if there are plenty of fans there.
“So it would be great to see as many supporters as possible in the ground.”