Jarrow Roofing boss happy to give youth a chance against South Shields
Richie McLoughlin is facing a selection headache as he prepares his Jarrow Roofing side to take on South Shields in the Durham Challenge Cup on Monday (1pm KO).
The Roofing boss will have to make the short trip to Mariners Park with nine key players missing from his squad.
Dan Kirkup and Arjun Purewal are suspended, while Ross Toward, Chris Winn, Paul Gardiner, Lee Kerr and Darryll Donnelly are all cup-tied, midfielder Shaun Vipond is away, and Adam Smith is injured.
However, McLoughlin insists he is not worried and admits the situation may actually prove beneficial to his side.
“Coming into the game with so many experienced players missing is not the best preparation for a big cup match, but it is what it is.
“We will be very short on numbers, but we couldn’t go out and sign anyone because they would all have been cup-tied, too.
“However, we have a number of young players at the club who will all be looking to make an impact and show what they can do against one of the favourites for the competition.
“These players will have a point to prove and I hope they can take the opportunity.
“There’s no doubt that this will be a massive learning curve for them, but it’s something they should all be excited about.
“It’s also a local derby, so that should give them an extra incentive to perform to their best.
“We will not be going there to make up the numbers, though. That is for certain.”
The Roofers will head into the second round clash with the hope of avenging the 5-0 defeat they suffered at Mariners Park earlier in the season, but McLoughlin says that the odds are stacked against his team.
“I don’t think we did ourselves justice in the league clash,” he said.
“Too many players didn’t turn up and not all of them were at full fitness. A lot of things have changed at our club since then, though, and we will be going out there to win.
“We all know the threats South Shields can pose to us. I’ve been around this league for a long time, and they are one of the best footballing sides I have seen for years.
“Not only that, but they also have excellent strength in depth, and we will have to play to our very best if we are to progress in this competition.
“If we do end up winning, I will feel like jumping over the moon because it will be a great achievement when you consider how good South Shields are at the minute and how many key players we have missing.
“It will also put out a big statement to the rest of the teams left in the competition and it will be a great boost of confidence for the entire squad, especially because we haven’t played a competitive fixture in so long.”