By Brian Bennett

Ashington will go into Tuesday night’s showdown in the semi final if the Ebac Northern League Division One cup against Consett with a blunt message from manager Ian Skinner ringing in their ears.

He said: “I’ve experienced a few semi finals and it is the worst game possible to lose. It’s horrible as you have got so far yet fallen so near. I hear people say that being losing finalists is awful – but at least you get the day and the build up of getting to the final and playing in it.”

He continued: “We know what’s at stake and we need to make sure that we play better than we did against Thornaby. We certainly didn’t perform to the levels which we did against Guisborough last midweek in the quarter final so we will need to be better. The players will be up for the game which is on our own pitch with the chance to get to the final and as I mentioned last week, our season hinges on the outcome.”

Skinner also believes the noisy backing from the home crowd can be a significant factor: “Hopefully the fans will come out in their numbers again after they gave us fantastic vocal support against Guisborough,” he said, “It’s great because their enthusiasm and passion from the terraces filters down to the pitch and certainly helps us and we’ll see if they can help drive us on to reach a cup final.”

On the team news front, Skinner said: “We’ll have to monitor and assess the injuries sustained by Jordan Lashley and Thomas Kalthoeber. At this stage, I think both players will be ruled out of the equation. Lashley has got a really bad cut and is struggling to feel his leg so I think he will have to get it X-rayed and the same applies to Thomas who has damaged his shoulder.”

Max Emmerson and Adam Johnson are already out for the season through injury whilst Luke Salmon is suspended after his red card in the latter stages against Guisborough. Tom Bramley and Jamie Hanson also face a race against the clock to be fit – all of which means Skinner will leave announcing his line up until the last possible minute.

Kick-off is 7.30pm

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