Having been sidelined again at the weekend North Shields are hoping for some pitch action on Saturday when they continue their defence of the FA Vase.
Having stylishly seen off Ashington by 3-0 in the second round, courtesy of goals from Ben Richardson John Parker and James Luccock, the Shieldsmen welcome Runcorn Town to the Daren Persson Stadium for a 3pm kick off.
Runcorn Town are enjoying a good season in the North West Counties League Premier Division and currently lie in fifth position with 11 wins and 36 points from 20 matches following a 3-2 victory over Barnoldswick Town last saturday ,a game watched by Shields boss Graham Fenton.and one in which their top sxorer Paul Shanley bagged a brace to take his season tally to 19.
The Cheshire side have already beaten four sides at home to progress this far in the Vase with wins over Litherland by 4-2 ,Barnton (4-1) ,Abbey Hey (2-0) and Garforth Town in the last round by 3-0.
They have met Northern League teams a number of times in recent seasons and last year edged past West Allotment Celtic 4-2 ,leading by three goals at one stage and just holding off a gallant Allotment comeback thanks to a missed penalty and a last minute clincher.
The Robins meanwhile have not been able to play a league fixture throughout the whole of November though they celebrated cup auccesses over Willington in the Northern League Cup and Ashington in the national competition.
Assistant manager Andy Bowman said ‘Its obvious Runcorn are a useful side and we will need to be at our best to progress’
‘We will be training hard this week to make sure everyone is in the right frame of mind ‘
‘Its frustrating having so many games called off but we’ll be ready’.
Dan Wilson is the sides top marksman so far with 6 strikes and ciould lead thr line with the prolific Gareth Bainbridge facing a late fitness test.
Still ruled out though are Wembley heroes Adam Forster and John Grey whilst full back Jordan Summerly is suspended and new signing Brad Brooking is cup-tied.
Should a replay not be required the Shieldsmen are scheduled to host Ashington again on Wednesday, December 16 (7.30pm),in the N’land Senior Cup.
Subsequent fixtures are Newton Aycliffe (away) on Saturday 19 (3pm) then Newcastle Benfield (away) on Saturday 26 (11am) and Bedlington Terriers (home) on Saturday, January 2 (3pm).