West Auckland are hoping that history repeats itself when they face Whitley Bay in the third round of the Buildbase FA Vase tomorrow.

Six seasons ago, West ended Whitley’s three-year winning run in the Vase when they beat them in the 2012 quarter final on their way to Wembley, but manager Gary Forrest knows that their fellow Northern League club will be very tough opponents.

“I think it’s a really tough draw, because Whitley have only lost once in their last nine matches, and they’re a good away side,” said Forrest, who will choose from a full squad, except for suspended defender Ross Colquhoun. “They’ll be a difficult side to beat, and we will have to play really well.

Loading article content

“The outcome of the game will be down to who has the most quality in the final third, both defensively and offensively.

“We’re starting to get where we want to be. It hasn’t been easy to build a team from scratch, and it takes time for the players to get to know and understand each other, and the management team to know the players. Defensively we have stepped up in recent weeks, we’ve kept two clean sheets on the bounce now, and hopefully that will give us the platform to push on.

“For me, this is the toughest round of them all, because the draw is still regionalised, and the hardest games are up here against other Northern League teams.

“The bookmakers say that we’re favourites to win the competition, but I don’t know where they’ve got that idea from.”

There are several other ties involving Northern League clubs. Stockton Town are at home to City of Liverpool, while Marske go to Runcorn Linnets. There is another all Northern League tie between Newcastle Benfield and North Shields.