By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner has described Thursday’s semi final clash against Newcastle United U21s in the Newcastle Flooring Northumberland Senior Cup as being a ‘tough test – but nevertheless a winnable one.’

Following a run of four defeats in five matches, the Colliers got back on track at the weekend when goals from Andrew Cartwright and Dan Maguire secured a 2-0 victory over North Ferriby in their final game of the season in the East Division of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

Skinner said later: “Returning to winning ways last Saturday was all part of the plan. We asked the lads to go out and play with a bit of freedom and to get back to the levels which we were capable of and to send the fans home happy. We achieved our goal – and now everybody will be really excited about Thursday night. There will be a big crowd inside the ground and the support will be fantastic – just like it was today against Ferriby – and we’ll be working hard on how we are going to tackle what will be a tough test – but nevertheless a winnable one.”

He continued: “Obviously I would like the boys to be able to go to St James Park for a final. However we’re certainly not getting ahead of ourselves and we’ll be taking things one step at a time because will Thursday night be easy? No. Will we try and tackle it with everything we’ve got? Yes – and hopefully on the night it will be good enough.”

The boss added that the Woodhorn Lane fans can play an integral part: “Our fans are always important,” he said, “They come and sing and shout and bang the drum and it’s great. The lads love it and long may it continue. To be honest, it’s a club where they need each other – the players need the fans and the fans need the players to show that they care on the pitch and I think when you get both, you get a real feel-good factor about the place. There was a little bit of that today (against North Ferriby) because we managed to get back into the groove. The fans sang their hearts out for the entirety and it leads to a good positive environment – so hopefully Thursday night can be a repeat of that.”

Kick-off is 7.30pm