After a second successive 4-0 away win in the league last weekend, it is time for Blue Star to get up for the cup. The Challenge Cup that is, as Brian Smith’s men once again find themselves on the road this Saturday.
While the reason for another adventure away from NE15, is due to their pairing with Ponteland United and with Liam Bell’s side having lost only once this season, this encounter is going to be far from easy.
While with cup football around the corner, it also offers the manager a dilemma of sorts. Do you aim to keep the momentum going from August by playing the strongest starting eleven possible or do you use this as an opportunity to rest or rotate.
Then again, that is not to do any fringe players a disservice and with the depth and quality throughout the squad already being displayed, any players who pull on the black and white stripes this weekend are more than capable of getting the job done.
In addition to this, it also provides the perfect platform for those who have been knocking on the door in terms of league selection and should performances be of a high standard, it may provide a welcome headache for the management team before next week’s trip to Whitley Bay Reserves.
Ultimately, the objective regardless of the first eleven names on the teamsheet, is to make safe passage to the second round of the Challenge Cup and with this competition being one of a number of additional trophies up for grabs, it will be treated as seriously as any other fixture.
Coming into this game, Ponteland will look to bounce back from their first league defeat of the season and although they suffered a 4-2 reverse at the hands of Whitley Bay Reserves, their first six encounters saw them record three wins and just as many draws.
Which sets up Saturday’s clash rather nicely indeed. A big thanks to Ponteland United for the upcoming hospitality and for those who will be attendance from an away perspective, safe travels both there and back.