By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC’s assistant manager Andy Coyles – speaking ahead of the Colliers’ home clash against Newton Aycliffe in the Pitching In Northern Premier League East Division on Saturday (December 16), said the players are ‘chomping at the bit’ to return to competitive action.

Following a cold snap, the rain – which has resulted in a glut of fixtures being called off over the past week due to waterlogged pitches – continued to fall on the Woodhorn Lane surface on Tuesday night. However looking forward and clinging to the hope that the game against the Newtonians will get the go ahead on Saturday, Coyles said: “Newton Aycliffe will be a difficult side to face. In fact if I was a neutral looking at the fixtures, I would probably go to this game because I would say it will arguably be a meeting between two of the best footballing sides in the league. I imagine there’ll be a lot of good football on display and played in the right way too – and fingers crossed I think the weather is looking good so that’s certainly encouraging news. To finally get a match on will be just the tonic because the lads are chomping at the bit to get back out onto the pitch.”

He continued: “Training has been good. Sometimes it’s difficult when you are anticipating games being either on or off – but the players have stuck at it and their attitudes have been brilliant. It’s certainly worth noting that even the lads who have been out injured for a long time have shown there support towards their team mates who were out there training and it just shows the togetherness of the group. There is a really good feeling and atmosphere around the camp and a lot of that has to do with our recent results where we went on a five game unbeaten run, prior to the loss to Liversedge in our last match.”

Meanwhile Coyles gave an encouraging update on the injury front with Cam Gascoigne, Nathan Buddle and Darren Lough all back in training and eligible for selection on Saturday whilst Charlie Exley is to start light running next week. Coyles said of Exley: “It’s a positive because we thought he was going to be out for a while.”

Meanwhile the assistant boss added that Jordan Summerly has more of a long term injury and that the management are monitoring the injury to Dan Maguire on a “week to week” basis.

“The majority of the players are back from knocks and that’s only good news for the team – but on the management front it’s going to cause a number of selection headaches!” added Coyles, “We gained the good results of late despite having all of these players sidelined and it just goes to show how well the lads have done who have actually been selected, started games and who have been out there on the pitch.”

Saturday’s kick-off against Newton Aycliffe is 3pm then the Colliers travel to face Sheffield FC for a 7.45pm start on Tuesday (December 19).