SEAN Newton believes he is due a spot of FA Cup fortune having endured an “abysmal” time in the world-famous competition.

The Liverpool-born utility man, who turns 30 on Sunday, was a member of the City side that lost 3-2 at eighth-tier South Shields last season – a defeat that cost former boss Gary Mills his job.

Newton was also in a Telford team that were dumped out of a first-round tie 4-0 by Chelmsford , whilst his biggest moment in the Cup – a 2008 match-winning brace for Droylsden against League Two Chesterfield– was tarnished because he should have been suspended for the tie and the Greater Manchester outfit were subsequently expelled from the tournament, missing out on a trip to Championship outfit Ipswich.

On his nightmare FA Cup record, Newton admitted: “I’ve had a bit of an abysmal time in the FA Cup and I’m due a good run this season.

“I’ve not really had the best of draws in the competition and, the one time I did do well with Droyslden, we got kicked out because of me and missed out on playing at Ipswich in the third round.

“I played against Chesterfield when I shouldn’t have done because I was on five bookings, but the secretary didn’t realise, and nobody did other than a Chesterfield fan, who notified the FA.

“The first I knew about it was when it came up on Sky Sports that we’d been kicked out because I shouldn’t have been playing.”

With Newton one of six players in the current squad that endured the ignominy of defeat at South Shields – the others are Hamza Bencherif, Simon Heslop, Adriano Moke, Jon Parkin and Dan Parslow – the former Wrexham left back reckons that experience should serve as a painful lesson learned ahead of tomorrow’s second qualifying round home tie against the North West Counties League’s bottom club Ashton Athletic.

“For the lads that were here, it’s a game to look back on and realise you can’t take teams for granted,” Newton reasoned.

“All teams have good players who can hurt you if you don’t turn up and, along with the new lads that have come in, we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again this season, because it’s all about mentality.

“When I was at Telford, we had a nice stadium with crowds of 2,500 normally and, suddenly, we were going to Chelmsford with a running track around the pitch and no atmosphere, but you’ve still got to concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch.

“You can’t take things for granted and assume it’s going to be easier because of the surroundings.

“We’re in a higher league and have better players and we’ve got to make sure we also react to being beaten by Kidderminster on Saturday.

“Ashton will be treating it as their cup final, just as we would if we were playing a League One or Championship side and, if we’re not on our game, they will take their chance.

“If we don’t win the game, it won’t be because they have got the better players – it will be because we have under-achieved and not treated the game with the respect it deserves.

“But, if we have eight or nine players playing their best, I’m sure we will win.”

Newton went on to suggest the surest way of avoiding an upset would be to move the ball around quickly from the first whistle to tire out the semi-professional visitors.

“We’ve got to start with a good tempo and get the ball down and play good football like we did against Brackley and Blyth,” he said.

“If we do that, without being disrespectful, they shouldn’t be able to live with us.

“We’ve got to look to kill the game off early doors and then let our fitness levels take over.”

While Cup highlights have been few and far between for Newton, meanwhile, he still craves league success over knockout glory, arguing: “I’d take promotion over getting to the third round of the FA Cup, but winning games in any competition also gives you momentum and builds confidence.”

Newton returned to the team against Kidderminster last weekend after missing four matches due to medial ligament damage.

During his absence, the captain’s armband has been handed to Joe Tait, but Newton has accepted that decision and insisted that he will support his successor in whatever way necessary.

“That’s the manager’s choice and I’m not one to spit my dummy out,” Newton declared.

“Joe’s been a great lad around the dressing room since we signed him and, if he’s going to be captain, as I think he will be, then that’s fine.

“I’m all for it and I’ll back him to the hilt, as well as helping him out if he wants me to.”

Newton also confessed that making his comeback in midfield as a half-time substitute against unbeaten Kidderminster did not represent the most comfortable of returns.

“It was a tough game to come back in after a few games out, because they have good players with good movement,” he added. “If I could pick a position, it would be left-back but, wherever the manager tells you to play, all you can do is try your best.”