Following a hard-fought home win for the Lang Jacks against West Auckland Town on Saturday 11th December, Tony Fawcett’s men face Gateshead-based rivals Birtley Town tomorrow in the Durham Challenge Cup as they look to build on their five wins in their last six fixtures WRITES BEN ROBINSON.
Despite being reduced to 10-men, Whickham saw off second-place in the league with a goal in each half for Nathan Greenwood enough to defeat West 2-0.
The win carries the Glebemen up to eighth place, nine points off a promotion place and with the best current form in the Division One with 15 points in their last six games.
Fawcett’s side have been defensively solid since the new manager as the Lang Jacks have four clean sheets since the new boss took charge six games ago against Seaham Red Star.
Tuesday’s opponents, Birtley Town currently lie in 14th place and were involved in a nine-goal thriller last time out, losing 5-4 in a visit to Washington F.C.
Town were 3-0 up after 20 minutes with Washington pulling a goal back just before half-time.
A crazy second-half saw the visiting Birtley throw away their lead with 20 minutes remaining, before a goal in the last few minutes restored their lead.
However, two injury time goals from the hosts including a goal to seal a hat-trick and an own goal from Adam Ward somehow turned the game on its head.
The two teams drew 1-1 in a pre-season friendly back in 2019, with Andrew Bulford’s opener cancelled out by a Joe Barwick equaliser.
Fawcett is expected to make changes to the starting XI with some youngsters potentially brought into the squad to get an opportunity to play and give a rest to some of the first team players that have followed an intense playing schedule.
Dom Agnew and Dave Below are both cup-tied which means they are unavailable for the fixture, with Scott Jasper also not available for selection.
Tom Howard, Jack Moody and Kurtis Russell all return to the squad with the hopes of starting against Birtley Town.
Fawcett warns his players of a ‘difficult game’ despite the difference in division between the two sides.
He said: “This is an extremely difficult game, Paul will have his lads well motivated and well organised.”
He continued: “There are several ex-Whickham players in their ranks who will be looking to get one over on us but we will be expecting the same high standards that we have seen all season from our lads.”
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