BIRTLEY Town have been forced to switch today’s FA Vase second qualifying round tie with Scarborough Athletic to Albany Park, Washington because the Birtley Sports Complex is flooded with contaminated water.
“The field has struggled to cope with the excessive rain but we were shocked to find out that the standing water is contaminated,” said secretary Trevor Armstrong.
“The environment people have had a look and it could be some time before we are able to move back.”
Ashington, thumped 6-0 last week, are hoping for a better performance when they take on North Shields at Woodhorn Lane.
This will be the Colliers’ third cup-tie in a week as, after going out of the FA Cup to Durham City, they exited the Northern League Cup at the hands of Dunston Federation in midweek.
West Allotment Celtic have home advantage over Silsden and the Tynesiders are confident of reaching the next stage.
“We were near the bottom of the league in the last two years but are currently second top. We are delighted with the progress especially as we are conceding very few goals,” said official Steve Allott.
Morpeth Town are favourites when they meet Darlington RA in an all-Northern League tie but manager Jon King insists he will take nothing for granted despite the home side being bottom of the second division without a point. Bedlington Terriers travel to Eccleshill United and despite their lowly rating, boss Tony Lowery believes his side can get a result.
Sunderland Nissan are odds-on favourites at Horden CW where manager Wilf Constantine is boosted by the availability of Paul Stephenson and Brian Rowe.
“We can enjoy a good run in the FA Vase,” said Constantine. “It’s essential we defeat Horden CW but I won’t underestimate them although the form book points to a victory for us.”
His opposite number Simon Corbett is less than happy with his team’s performances so far and held “clear the air” talks at the midweek training session. He said: “Pre-season everybody was talking about us being favourites for promotion from division two but we are fifth from bottom with just a couple of wins.
“Things have got to change and the players know exactly what is expected of them starting against Nissan.”
Although the Colliers have Steve Thomas and Stuart Brightwell back, they go into the tie minus Craig Stephens, Gary Richies, Anthony Lund and Mark Stephenson.
Ryton are on Humberside for their game at Hall Road Rangers. Captain Gary Forbes is a definite absentee because of injury and manager Barry Fleming will need to check on the fitness of several players following the midweek game. With the three sides above them on Vase duty, Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics will go top if they defeat Consett. Manager Paddy Atkinson reports injury concerns surrounding Scott Donaldson and Scott Emmerson.
Dunston Federation are also on league duty and at home to Northallerton Town welcome Mark O’Bern and Michael Dixon while Whitley Bay visit Billingham Synthonia without the suspended Chris Moore.
Synners this week parted company with manager Bobby Scaife who was in charge of Dunston Federation before his move to Teesside.