Preview: Newcastle Benfield v Harriers
Harriers are back in FA Cup action tomorrow when they make the long trip north to take on Newcastle Benfield in the 3rd Qualifying Round.
For the second round in a row Harriers face a team from Step 5 of the non-league pyramid but should face a tougher test this time around as the Northern League is traditionally a strong league full of teams who prefer not to take promotion to keep their travelling down to a minimum.
John Eustace will give a late fitness test to James McQuilkin who only played half of the game last weekend in the 5-4 victory over Blyth but should he not make it Dan Bradley may step in in his stead after coming off the bench to play the second half in the same game. One player who will not feature is Charlie Bannister, the back-up goalkeeper as he has left the club to join Solihull Moors.
Newcastle are currently in 14th place in the Northern League but have played less games than the teams around them having already played through four rounds of the FA Cup. So far they have seen off the challenges of West Allotment Celtic, Goole, Whitley Bay and Ashton United as well as making progress in the FA Vase. Manager Mark Convery can call up some experienced players such as veteran striker Paul Brayson and Steve Bowey.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-3-3): Hall; Williams, Taylor, Pearson, Horsfall; Croasdale, Bradley, Ngwatala; Sonupe, Ironside, A. Brown.
Subs (from): Austin, Digie, Finch, Webb, Weeks, Wright.
Missing (injured): McQuilkin, Truslove, Vaughan.
Missing (on-loan): J. Brown, Clarke, Palmer.
The referee will be Gareth Rhodes from York who, as usual, will be taking charge of a Harriers game for the first time.
The weather in the North East at kick-off time doesn't look promising with a 70% chance of rain predicted along with a temperature of 13°C.