Only last month at The dwmedia Stadium, the Lions roared back to clinch a razor-thin 4-3 win in the Emirates FA Cup over the Colliers, who entered the closing ten minutes 2-1 in front. But if the Colliers wish to emerge victorious against Newcastle Benfield, they must not repeat the avoidable mistakes of that very game.
Skinner knows the importance of the game and alluded to the FA Cup game which was staged five weeks ago: “The FA Vase is a big competition for all non league clubs nationwide and it has presented us with a tough draw - which I said after it was made – because Newcastle Benfield away is never an easy game. We’ve already played them at home this season where they were on the right end and we were on the wrong end of the result. We know a little bit about them already – and they’ll know a little bit about us.”
He continued: “Having the luxury of a free week is a massive plus for us. We’ve worked really hard for the past month and Whickham last Saturday was our 11th game. I said we needed to finish this little hectic period on a positive – which we did – and now we’ve been able to get a little rest and can get a chance to work on things. We’ve been able to map out how we are going to play against them (Benfield) and fingers crossed, we’ll see if potentially we can get one or two players back from injury.”
Midfield schemer Dean Briggs is one of the said injured party and Skinner said: “Dean is desperate to play – and has got a chance - but what we won’t do is to play him and risk him. We’ve got through since the North Shields game without him and what I won’t do is sacrifice the last couple of weeks for a one off and maybe put him out longer term with us already having three or four longer term injuries anyway.”
Skinner further highlighted the relief of having no midweek fixture and added: “We didn’t train last week after the Redcar game due to injuries and I had to wrap the players in cotton wool ahead of the Whickham game. We are only running with a small squad and it was nice to have a couple of training sessions this week leading into the Vase tie.”
Briggs will undergo a late test but Max Emmerson and Bobby Taylor and definite non-starters. Skinner went on: “We’ll need to check on one or two (of the players) ahead of kick-off. Luke Salmon has been playing with a bit of an injury and so has Paul Robinson so we need to acquire fitness reports from both of them.”
Tune in for kick off at 3pm. Make sure you don’t miss it!