A depleted Jarrow Roofing will travel to North Shields for their clash in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup tomorrow.
The Roofers will be without Calvin Smith, Nick Hay, Adam Sakr and the suspended Michael Laws, though boss Richie McLoughlin is hopeful that Corey Barnes should be available for selection along with new goalkeeper Andy Jennison.
The Roofers were eliminated at the hands of Congleton Town in the first qualifying round of last season’s competition and McLoughlin knows it’ll be another tough road to Wembley this time around.
“It’s going to be a very hard game, but our players will be up for it,” McLoughlin said.
“If we do beat North Shields then it’s Morpeth Town or Seaham Red Star in the next round, so we’ve certainly been handed a tough draw against some of better sides in the Northern League.”
Striker Michael Mackay has first-hand experience of FA Cup success having helped guide Hartlepool United to the fourth round seven years ago and the prolific forward only has fond memories of the campaign.
“That’s one of the standout moments of my career”, he said.
“I started every round. We beat Brighton after taking them to a replay, I scored two goals against Fleetwood in the next round and then came off injured halfway through the match against Stoke in the third round.
“I had one chance against West Ham. Scott Parker cleared it off the line and Mark Noble scored the winner.”
Mackay also believes that the Roofing could earn a glamour tie of their own if they can get through on.
“We always believe we can win,” he said.
“Pre-season hasn’t gone too well, but I think that’s because we haven’t always been able to field a full team due to other commitments.
“The Northern League clubs always have a good chance of reaching the first round so if we can get that far, it’ll be good for the club.”
Despite going into the tie as underdogs, McLoughlin’s Roofers will be buoyed by having the better of the play in the final game of last season which was between the two teams at Boldon.
Shields needed a last-gasp equaliser to salvage a point that evening and Roofing will hope to have put a poor run of form against their opponents behind them, having previously lost 5-0 in two consecutive league defeats.
“We’ll give it a go as we always do,” said McLoughlin.
“If you can’t get up for the FA Cup then there’s a big problem. We’ve worked hard throughout pre-season so it’s time to see what we can do.”
The game will take place at the Daren Persson Stadium, postcode NE29 6UA, with kick-off at 3pm.