By Andrew Snaith
The Blues visit Wearside League promotion-chasers Redcar Athletic, next Wednesday night (6th December), as we begin our defence of the North Riding Senior Cup.
Athletic sit third in the Northern League feeder division, with just one defeat in their sixteen league matches. They are seven points behind leaders Cleator Moor Celtic, with one game in hand. Their last outing was on Saturday 18th November, when they drew 3-3 at Sunderland West End.
There are four ex-Blues listed in the Athletic squad with diminutive forward Sam Garvie the best known. Ex-York City winger Bryan Stewart played under Lee Nogan, while defender Luke Woodall and striker Matty Dunford also spent brief spells with the Seasiders.
Town are the current holders of the North Riding Senior Cup, after defeating Pickering Town 3-1, in front of 1,487 spectators, at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium, in May.
Blues boss Chris Hardy confirmed he’ll be taking the first ever meeting of the two teams as seriously as any league match.
Speaking after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Witton Albion, he revealed:
“There will be no complacency. We need to ensure we get a win there.”
Former Hartlepool United midfielder Andy Monkhouse is again set to feature, referring to Town’s weekend defeat, Hardy admitted:
“We were forced to withdraw Monks, so he didn’t have a recurrence [of his recent injury] and has a chance to play Wednesday.
“The games come thick and fast and it’s a chance to right the wrongs.
“We need to get back into good habits and be winning games of football.”
Winger Connor Smith’s loan from York City has ended, with striker John Campbell also unavailable, due to an ankle injury.
Redcar Athletic play at their rapidly-developing Green Lane ground, off the main road in town and reached this stage after defeating Stokesley Sports Club, 2-0, in the preliminary round. They have reached the North Riding Senior Cup quarter-finals five times in the last six seasons.
Kick-off, at Green Lane, on Wednesday 6th December, is 7.45pm, with a supporters’ coach leaving the Turnbull Ground at 5.30pm. Places are still just £10 each, but fans must first book, through chairman Graham Manser, on 07966 241 344, to avoid disappointment. For those travelling independently, the postcode is TS10 3RW.
The match must be settled on the night and there will be a penalty shoot out, if scores are level after normal time.