GATESHEAD boss Ian Bogie has told his players they have a duty to make up for the club’s “bitterly disappointing” FA Cup exit at Kidderminster today.
The Tynesiders tumbled out of the Cup at Alfreton and are without a win in four matches as they head to the Blue Square Bet Premier’s form team.
Aware the players have dropped below the high standards he has set for them, Bogie read the riot act over the week and has demanded no repeat of the oddly lethargic display against their Conference rivals.
Kidderminster, by contrast, enjoyed a fine 4-2 win at Hereford and seem to be hitting some kind of form after a horrendous start to the season.
Bogie said: “The players need to put it right at Kidderminster because it was bad for the entire club last weekend.
“We were bitterly disappointing against Alfreton and we need to put that behind us.
“I will decide what teams goes out there and the players who have the opportunity have to take it because what happened was not acceptable and we have made that clear this week.”
For Bogie, a trip to Kidderminster is a trip down memory lane and he knows all too well how difficult a venue Aggborough can be for teams. Gateshead did the double on Steve Burr’s men last season, and any repeat of that feat would be a welcome riposte to the critics who accuse the Tynesiders of flattering to deceive so far this season.
Harriers were among the pre-season promotion favourites and, although their poor start has left them with ground to make up, Bogie still believes the Midlands outfit will be in the play-off mix at the end of the campaign.
He added: “By their standards, Kidderminster had a horrendous start but they are the team in form.
“Every time you go to Aggborough, you know you are going to be in a game.
“It is a good surface there and it is one of my old teams, so I know how difficult it can be.
“They were pre-season promotion favourites and Steve Burr has them playing some nice football.
“I still think they’ll be in the mix and whichever way you look at it we’ll have a difficult game there.
“However, it is not a game we are incapable of winning and if we play at our best then the rest just takes care of itself.”
Gateshead will hand a debut to former Bradford City and Hartlepool midfielder Lee Bullock, who has joined on a month’s loan from York City to bolster Bogie’s midfield options.
The Tynesiders’ chief is staying tight-lipped about whether it will lead to a more long-term arrangement for the experienced campaigner.
He said: “We will take it one step at a time.
“He will start on Saturday but he needs to establish himself in our midfield and show he can offer us a little bit more than we have at the moment.
“It is for an initial month and then who knows? York may decide to recall him.”