Hebburn hoping for flourishing finish – and FA Cup qualification

Alan Pegram
Alan Pegram

Hebburn Town boss is targeting FA Cup qualification in the run-in to the season.

The Hornets sit ninth in Northern League Division Two, the same spot that Heaton Stannington finished in last year when they were the lowest-ranked qualifiers for the prestigious competition.

Criteria for qualification is a mixture of league position and an average of points per game across the non-league divisions across the country, and Oliver wants his team to finish with a flourish.

One player who is also keen to end on a high is midfielder Alan Pegram, who is retiring at the end of the campaign.

Pegram is available for tomorrow’s home game against Ryton and Crawcrook Albion, but Glen Hargrave, Jason Blackburn, Steve Hubery and Ian Bickerstaff are all missing.

Oliver said: “As usual we have important lads missing but we are used to that by now and will adapt.

“Ryton are fighting to stay in the Northern League so as usual we will have to play well to win.

“Last Saturday’s performance at Heaton was very good and it was a big bonus to get the winner late on. Our last two wins are down to defending from the front which has spread to the whole team.

“Alan Pegram has told me he will be retiring in two weeks, so he will be keen to finish the season well.

“Pegs has been fantastic for us in the three years he has been here – his range of passing and work-rate is first class.

“I want us to win our final two league games and that might be enough to claim an FA Cup place.”

Tomorrow’s game is the first of four homes matches in 11 days for Hebburn, including friendlies against Newcastle and Sunderland sides.

Oliver added: “To manage on Tuesday against a Newcastle team managed by Peter Beardsley is fantastic.

“The town have backed the club since the news of our troubles broke and the team will be well supported in the coming days.”