Julio Arca says he will play his normal game against North Shields in the League Cup final at Whitley Bay tomorrow – even if it means potentially missing out on Wembley.
Arca returns to the South Shields team after a two-game suspension picked up after being sent off, ironically against North Shields, last month.
It meant he missed the last game of the season against Guisborough, when the Mariners were presented with the Northern League championship, and Wednesday night’s Durham Challenge Cup Final against Billingham Synthonia.
Arca was harshly given two yellow cards the last time the two Shields sides met, and knows that anyone sent off tomorrow will miss the FA Vase Final at Wembley on May 21.
But he says he – and his team-mates – won’t be pulling out of any challenges.
The Argentine said: “I think the more you think about it, the worse it is.
“Ever since we won the (Vase) semi-final (against Coleshill), it was the first thing the managers said to us: ‘don’t think about Wembley, change this or that, as it will be for the worse’.
”But the lads have shown that the commitment of playing in every game, no one has been pulling out of tackles.
“That shows how much we want to win games and trophies.
“It’s not nice to criticise referees, but that day I was disappointed with his decisions, particularly the first yellow card, which was a foul on me. The second one was a yellow card, I’ll take that, and it meant I missed the final.
“But it’s a new game tomorrow and I’ll try to do the same thing I’ve been doing this season, do the basics and try and win the game.
“It’s frustrating to miss games, especially these type of cup finals. But we have the strength in our team to change the players around and that’s what the managers did really well, and it worked again.
“We dominated the game, particularly the second half and could have scored another two or three goals.”
Arca looks set to come straight back into the starting XI, while Romanian defender Iulian Petrache is also available, having been ineligible on Wednesday night for the 2-0 win.
Those two come back into the fold, while there will be a fitness test over centre-half Dillon Morse, who hasn’t played since limping off against North Shields last month. However, Anthony Callaghan and Darren Holden are cup-tied.
“It will be good to hopefully be back in the team, or at least to be available,” added Arca.
“We know how hard it is going to be as North Shields were so close to winning the league, and also they lost one of the cup finals they played recently against Blyth, so obviously they are going to be desperate to win something.
“This is the chance they are going to have.
“This is another chance for us though. We take each game as it comes, the right way, but it will be nice to win another trophy.”