GATESHEAD and Barrow are confident they will beat the weather and get their delayed FA Trophy third-round game on tonight – at the fifth time of asking.
The tie has been postponed four times due to bad weather and freezing temperatures, with two failed attempts to play the game at Gateshead’s International Stadium prompting a change of venue to Barrow’s Holker Street home.
However, Cumbria was hit by heavy snow last week, forcing the game to be called off in midweek and then again on Saturday.
Now the snow has gone and tonight sees the third attempt to play the game at Holker Street, with Gateshead boss Anth Smith keeping his fingers crossed there will be no more delays.
He said: “It’s been very frustrating to see the game called off four times already, but there is nothing more that either club could have done.
“We tried to get the game on twice at the International Stadium and it wasn’t possible and then the snow caused problems over at Holker Street.
“Temperatures have warmed up a bit now so the snow has melted, but there has been quite a bit of rain – hopefully not enough to put the game off tonight though.
“All we can do is prepare as though the game is going ahead until told otherwise.”
The winners of the tie will face a trip to Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity in the quarter-finals a week today.
With most of the quarter-finals having been played at the weekend, the draw for the semis took place yesterday with the winners of that last-eight tie at Gainsborough earning the right to play Conference Premier side Wrexham over two legs.
Smith added: “Although we’ve had problems with the weather the rest of the competition has carried on and the route is mapped out.
“Wrexham await in the semi-finals but we can’t start thinking about that – that is two rounds away.
“We have to concentrate on winning against Barrow – if we don’t do that the rest is all academic.”
With no game since New Year’s Day, Smith at least has a full-strength squad to choose from tonight.
He said: “Any knocks we had after the New Year’s Day game against Barrow have long since cleared up.
“Of course we are short of match practice because all we have been able to do is train.”
Meanwhile, Smith is looking to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes.
He has taken former Grimsby and Lincoln City right-back Peter Bore on trial, along with an unnamed 22-year-old French striker. They could face Durham City in the Durham Challenge Cup on Thursday night.