WHITLEY Bay FC manager Ian Chandler has thrown down the gauntlet to his squad and has asked them to seek revenge when they travel up the coast to face Ashington tomorrow (Friday) night.
The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been brought forward after both clubs agreed to the switch to avoid clashing with Blyth Spartans’ FA Trophy quarter-final tie against Gateshead, which takes place at Croft Park on Saturday afternoon.
Seahorses secretary Derek Breakwell said: “Ashington approached us with a view to bringing our fixture forward to the Friday night with the big match at Blyth taking place the following day, and with floating supporters wanting to see both games we were happy to switch.
“The move will also give us an extra day to prepare for our FA Carlsberg quarter-final tie at Dunston, which is the following weekend.”
Ashington knocked holders Bay out of the Northumberland Senior Cup last month by a 2-1 scoreline at Hillheads.
And Chandler will remind his squad prior to Friday’s 7.30pm kick-off that exacting revenge will be the order of the day.
He said: “It was a good end to end game a few weeks ago and on another night we may have won the tie.
“We missed a few chances and Ashington got the goals at the right times in an entertaining game.
“Hopefully it will be just as exciting on Friday but with a different result as we will be looking for a bit of revenge.”
Whilst the Bay need to keep on track if they are to finish in the top two in their quest for promotion to the Evo Stik league, Chandler admitted that they need to be aware of the threat from their former striker Phill Bell.
“We need three points and will be going all out to get them,” he said.
“It has all the ingredients of being another good game and Phill Bell will be a handful.”
Chandler will naturally keep his line-up close to his chest until shortly before kick-off, but he looks set to protect some players ahead of their quarter-final showdown at Dunston in the FA Carlsberg Vase the following Saturday.
He added: “I’ve got to admit that we’ll have a little eye on the following weekend as I need to protect key players for the Dunston game.
“But I’ll still be putting a good team out to try and win the three points against Ashington.”
Goalkeeper Kyle Hayes, one of six ex-Ashington players in the Bay squad, looks set to be between the posts on Friday night with Terry Burke unavailable.
Chandler is also hoping long term injury victim central defender David Coulson will be involved.
“David is ready to up his rehabilitation,” added the Bay boss.
“He was in the squad for Tuesday’s match at South Shields (February 22) and if he suffers no reaction then he will have some involvement at Ashington.”
Colliers boss Gary Middleton, whose side were due to face Norton & Stockton Ancients last night (Wednesday), had no injury concerns early in the week.
Meanwhile, tickets for the Vase game at Dunston are now on sale at Hillheads, price £6 for adults and £3 concessions.
It is not an all-ticket game but with a large crowd expected, fans are being encouraged to buy tickets in advance to help reduce queues at the turnstiles.