Richie McLoughlin has called for “more of the same” as he prepares to take his side to Atherton Collieries in the First Round Proper of the Buildbase FA Vase.
The Roofers have experienced something of a resurgence of late and are undefeated in their last three games.
We are missing some players, but this is a great opportunity for the younger players to really make an impact.
Paul Chow’s dramatic injury-time winner against table-topping North Shields at the weekend moved the South Tynesiders up to 14th in the Ebac Northern League Division 1, and although McLoughlin declared himself delighted at that victory, he believes his side will have to top that performance to progress to the next round of the competition.
“This is going to be an extremely hard game,” he said. “It’s probably one of the toughest draws we could have got. They are doing extremely well in their league at the minute, and they always get good crowds.
“We will be going there as the underdogs, but we will go there with no fear and looking to play our natural game. The players have really improved over the last couple of weeks, and they have stopped giving soft goals away, and that is very encouraging.”
The Roofers, though, will be depleted, with Alex White, Corey Barnes and Shaun Vipond injured. Anth Myers is a doubt for the clash after limping off against North Shields; Nick Hay is unavailable, and Adam Sakr is suspended.
“It’s going to be a really tough ask for the players we’ve got available,” he added. “However, this is a very big game, and I think everyone will be up for it.
“We’re all travelling on the bus as a team, so hopefully that will motivate the players and tighten them up as a unit.
“We are missing some players, but this is a great opportunity for the younger players to really make an impact. They have come in with energy and enthusiasm, and I think they’ve made the more experienced members of the team sit up and take notice.
“If all of our experienced players were available, then maybe they wouldn’t have had as much time on the pitch as they’ve been getting, but I’ve been really impressed with them.”
Atherton sit second in the North West Counties Football League and have have won their last three fixtures and are unbeaten in their last six.
However, McLoughlin is chasing the win.
“Atherton get good crowds at their games, and they will be expecting their side to beat us. If we can keep it tight and frustrate them, then they might start getting on their backs. We will be going there to win. No matter who you are, the FA Vase is always a great competition to do well in.
“Although we’ve got knocked out in the early rounds in the last couple of seasons, I still enjoy it more and more every year. If we stick to our game plan and continue the progress that we’ve made in the last few games, then there’s no reason why we can’t go there and get a result.”
Kick-off is at 3pm.