Glen Robertson previews Newton Aycliffe’s game at home to Ashington this weekend…
Newton Aycliffe begin a hectic schedule by welcoming Ashington to Moore Lane Park on Saturday.
It is the first of four games for the club over the next week, with all of them taking place at the Northern League first division side’s ground.
Following the Colliers’ visit, fellow strugglers Newcastle Benfield (Monday March 11th) and Durham (Wednesday March 13th) make the trip to the town, before Bedlington arrive the Saturday after.
The week will go a long way towards to deciding how the club will end the campaign, either in a relegation battle or a safe mid-table position.
At the moment, the gap to the bottom three stands at eight points following the midweek draw at Celtic Nation, though the Royal Blues slipped to 19th on Wednesday after Benfield’s surprise win against Bedlington.
Should Allan Oliver’s men pick up a healthy points return from the week, they should be able to start planning for next season’s crack at Division One. But a bad run of results will see them embroiled in a relegation scrap for the remainder of the campaign.
Ashington are in good form ahead of the game, after thrashing Billingham Town 8-1 on Tuesday night, with striker Marc Walton netting a hat-trick.
But while not struggling to find the net, Gary Middleton’s side tended to ship them in. The Colliers have not kept a clean sheet in their last seven league outings, which will leave Danny Earl, Fred Woodhouse and Sean Reay licking their lips ahead of the encounter.
Oliver will have a selection headache as he chooses two of the three to start and with everybody except Mark Peck fit, the boss will have further tough choices to make.
The game will mark the first matchday of the club’s new offer, which allows under-16s free entry to every home game for the remainder of the season providing they are accompanied by a paying adult.
Meanwhile, adults can purchase a ticket that secures entry to all four home matches this week for just £15- a saving of £5.
The clash with Ashington kicks off at 3pm on Saturday at Moore Lane Park, Newton Aycliffe Sports Club.