With confidence boosted hugely by last Saturday’s victory over Spennymoor Town, Whitley Bay embark on another season’s FA Vase campaign with a home tie against Runcorn Town in the second round this weekend.
To defeat the current Vase holders will have given Ian Chandler’s players the belief that this could be another memorable season for the competition’s most successful club.
However, it will be a tough test on Saturday as Runcorn are currently leaders of the North West Counties League, their only defeat in their last 11 games being a 1-0 reverse at Glossop last week, a game that was watched by Whitley officials.
Bay will have both Chris Reid and Paul Antony available following suspension, and there are hopes that Craig McFarlane may also have recovered from injury.
Runcorn meanwhile will be without their captain, who is suspended after receiving a red card two weeks ago.
This will be the first time that the clubs have met, although Whitley have played a number of teams from the North West Counties League in previous years, most notably Glossop North End, who they beat at Wembley in the 2009 final, and with whom they have developed close links.
The game on Saturday has a 3pm kick-off and with no Premier League fixtures this weekend, Whitley are hoping that a bumper crowd will be at Hillheads to cheer on the team.
If the game is not decided after 90 minutes, extra time will be played, and if there is still no winner, a replay will take place at Runcorn on Monday evening (7.45pm kick-off).
If the game is decided on Saturday, Whitley will be in Northumberland Senior Cup action on Tuesday evening when they travel up the A1 to take on Alnwick Town at St James Park in the second round of the competition.
This will be the first time the clubs have met in a competitive game since 2006, when in the same competition Whitley won a high scoring first round tie 5-3 at Hillheads, with manager Ian Chandler among the goal scorers.