MANAGER Tommy Cassidy will take a look at the Woodley Sports all-weather pitch before deciding on Newcastle Blue Star’s line-up in this afternoon’s FA Trophy, second qualifying round tie.
Earlier in the season, the Tynesiders gained a 1-1 draw at Woodley but Cassidy was not happy with the artificial surface.
“One or two players have niggling injuries and I won’t risk them,” said the former Newcastle United and Northern Ireland star.
“If one of the lads aggravates a problem it could mean him being out for a long period. It’s totally different to playing on a normal grass pitch.”
Cassidy anticipates having a near full-strength squad to choose from after the midweek fixture was postponed, adding: “It was a blessing in disguise having a free midweek which has probably allowed one or two players to regain full fitness.
“I was happy with last week’s winning performance but I’ve brought in Scott Bell from Blyth Spartans. I have only seen him play once – against Workington last season – but he has come to Kingston Park on a month’s loan and we’ll see how it goes.”
Meanwhile, Gateshead – who this week closed the gap on leaders Witton Albion to six points with two games in hand – take a break from UniBond League Premier Division action this afternoon when they visit Matlock Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy.
Manager Ian Bogie is expecting a difficult match. He said: “It will be a real test. They are seventh from top and formidable opponents on their own ground. We really had to scrap for a 1-1 draw there earlier in the year.
“Having said that, we are up for the challenge and I was delighted with our performance and result at Kendal Town in midweek. Witton Albion only managed to draw their midweek fixture so we are buoyed ahead of this afternoon’s fixture.”
Gateshead have lost once in the league and their other defeat came in the FA Cup when they went out to Vauxhall Motors. This is the best start they have made in years. A blow today is the absence of Stephen Salvin and David Southern, both banned.