THE road to Wembley starts tomorrow for Northern Counties East League premier division rivals Pickering Town and Tadcaster Albion in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup, writes Steven Back.
The Pikes welcome Northern League division two side Washington Town to Mill Lane and boss Mitch Cook is looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat to Heanor Town in midweek.
They ultimately lost to an 89th-minute Robbie Hawkes own goal after being reduced to ten men when Tony Hackworth was sent off midway through the second half.
“We had a ridiculous ten-hour round trip,” he said. “We had a man sent off and every decision seemingly went against us. To lose with ten and to concede in the 90th minute, it was a tough way to lose.”
Cook is wary of the first FA Cup challenge and is expecting a tightly-contested tie.
“It’s something everybody is looking forward to,” he said. “We have a home draw and we have got a team from the Northern League so we are expecting a tough game.
“The Northern League is very strong and its a hard draw first up. We are as strong as we can be. Lewis Taylor picked up a little injury but he should be fine for tomorrow.”
Tadcaster are hoping to carry some momentum with them after twice coming from behind on Tuesday, winning 4-2 against Nostell Miners.
Barnoldswick Town are the visitors to Ings Lane for tomorrow’s cup clash and assistant manager Mike Morton is at the helm, confident they will hit the ground running.
“It was a good performance on Tuesday,” he said. “It was a good atmosphere and the players wanted to put a few things right from (last) Saturday.”
Barnoldswick arrive winless so far having lost four out of four in the Northern Counties West League top-flight, but Morton is reminding his players to stay grounded.
He said: “We had someone watch their game in midweek, so we have a good idea what they’re about. It’s a tough league they are in and you never know they might have just got off to a bad start.”
Knaresborough also feature in the extra preliminary round away at Glasshoughton Welfare.
Selby Town are in NCEL division one action at home to Penistone Church, with manager Dave Ricardo looking to build on last weekend’s winning start against AFC Mansfield.
“We want a repeat of the quality we showed last Saturday, but we want to improve our finishing,” he said. “We won it with a late goal but we should have been a few goals up at half-time.
“There were definitely encouraging signs. I don’t think many teams will be able to live with our quality, but we need to be patient because the goals will come.”
Joel Evans is suspended for tomorrow’s Flaxley Road encounter.
Harrogate Town will look for their first win of the new campaign at Hednesford in Conference North.
The Evo-Stik League gets under way tomorrow, with Harrogate Railway hosting Mossley at Station View in division one north.
Scarborough Athletic travel to Salford City, who are owned by former Manchester United quintet Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and brothers Phil and Garry Neville.