25 Jun 2018 in General News
By Brian Bennett
Ashington will face two local outfits inside three games at the start of the forthcoming Ebac Northern League first division campaign after the fixtures were released on Friday.
The Colliers will host Blyth AFC on the opening day of the season (August 4) before travelling to face Hebburn Town - another newly promoted club – three days later on Tuesday August 7. Saturday August 11 will see the Woodhorn Lane outfit play in the extra preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup - although the draw for that competition as well as the Buildbase FA Vase have still to be made – then on August 15, Steve Bowey’s side make the short distance to play North Shields at the Darren Persson Stadium.
Also included in the first half dozen games, Guisborough Town and Consett make the trip to Woodhorn Lane whilst the Colliers go to Penrith on August 25 – although the game at Cumbria will be subject to change if either or both sides make progress in the FA Cup.
However, boss Bowey admits that although he is aware of the league fixtures, his focus is purely on the next few weeks. He said at the weekend: “To be honest I’m looking forward to the pre season programme and I haven’t looked too far ahead at the fixtures. We start training on Wednesday of this week and that is my main concern. I’ve had a quick look at who we play in the league but at this present moment in time, I’m not interested. All I am fixated on is gearing up for that first session on Wednesday and the first pre season game away to Gretna on Friday July 6. It hasn’t even crossed my mind to study the fixtures as they are not a priority and I will deal with them later. We have got four or five weeks leading up to the start and we want to get everybody fit and discuss how we want to play and perform.”
He continued: “In any case, you can never tell where you are at the beginning of a season with new players having to gel. Similarly you don’t get a good gauge because everything is played at 100 miles per hour and the first few games are never great with everyone finding their own feet. It’s all about how we address games and it doesn’t matter who the computer churns out for our league programme – whether it be against all the top teams or all of so called lesser sides. We have signed Shaun Vipond, Matty Wade, Sam Norris, Lee McMahon and Jermaine Francois but we’ve also got a few players coming on trial and things are looking good.”