HEBBURN Town must continue their promotion push tomorrow without in-form frontman Shaun Reay – with boss Scott Oliver admitting his asbsence is a major blow.
Striker Reay is on holiday and misses the trip to Whickham as Hebburn step up their bid to return to the top flight of the Northern League.
The Hornets are still fifth in the table, but Wednesday night’s crucial 1-0 win against promotion rivals Norton and Stockton closed the gap on the teams above them – and put Hebburn back in the driving seat.
They are now three points adrift of Norton, who are fourth, and Team Northumbria, who occupy the final promotion spot – but have two and three games in hand respectively on the two teams above them.
Oliver knows they must keep winning games, starting with tomorrow’s trip to eighth-placed Whickham, though he admits Reay’s absence harms their chances.
“We will miss Shaun Reay tomorrow,” admitted Oliver.
“He’s a very intelligent player who linked our play up well at Norton on Wednesday night.
“It was a classic away performance and we’re back in pole position again.
“It felt like we’d won a cup final, and it was Norton’s first home defeat of the season.
“After an even first half, we bossed the second half and had too many legs for them.
“Our defenders have also learned not to give free-kicks away in dangerous areas as a lot of goals are scored from set-pieces.
“I’m delighted for the lads, they’re a great bunch.”