BLYTH Spartans boss Steve Cuggy has backed new signing Jamie Mole to be a match-winner ahead of tonight’s crunch FA Cup fourth round qualifying replay against Droylsden.
The Croft Park side entertain Droylsden knowing that not only will a place in the first round proper of the FA Cup is at stake, but also a chance to set up a local North East derby against Conference side Gateshead.
Their latest acquisition, Mole, made his debut at last Saturday’s goalless draw at Droylsden and showed signs of why the 23-year-old was highly-rated as a teenager when at Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian.
The Gosforth man has had a rough time of it of late, but showed enough to Cuggy last weekend that he could have a bargain on his hands.
“He did very well and hasn’t played for a while, which makes it very encouraging.” said Cuggy.
“He’s a proper centre-forward who doesn’t give defenders any time at all and he looks to get in the box and score goals and I couldn’t ask for anymore from him.
“People have mentioned his lack of game time but in between being released by Hearts and joining us, he’s worked really hard to maintain his fitness.
“One of the clubs he was previously on loan with, Raith Rovers, allowed him to come and train with them and I had no hesitation in playing him and all being well he could feature on Tuesday.
“Him and Richard Offiong did look good together up front and with various strikers coming back from injury, like Graeme Armstrong who could be fit for the game, it is good to have something to work with.
“On Saturday I looked at my bench and at long last I could say I had the luxury of some attacking quality.”
The sharp turnaround from the original tie to the replay of only a couple of day’s rest is a hindrance for Cuggy, but as the Blyth boss states, it will be more of a bother for Droylsden.
He added: “The quick turn-around of playing a competitive cup-tie on the Saturday to playing another one on Tuesday doesn’t help in terms of getting the players fully rested as they would be if we were playing this game on the Wednesday.
“However, it is the same for Droylsden as well only in their case, they will be at a slight disadvantage. After all, they will be the ones making the long bus journey for Tuesday night’s game while our players will just have a short journey from their homes.”
Meanwhile, Gateshead boss Ian Bogie will be donning a green and white scarf tonight in the hope that Blyth complete the job against Droylsden. Gateshead booked their place in the first round proper after a 3-0 victory in a local derby of their own against Hebburn.
Like many others, Bogie is excited about the possibility of another neighbourly affair as it would be a boost for non-league football in the North East.
He said: “I hope Blyth win their replay, not because they are struggling this season but because it would be a great cup-tie for the fans and the region.
“We took over a thousand fans to Blyth for the FA Trophy tie and we’ll take another big following on Saturday week if they get through.
“(But if Droylsden win) they are a side who like to play good football from the back and if it’s them we play then we will go there with confidence.”