Spennymoor Town manager Jason Ainsley believes that his injury-hit squad will still be good enough to advance in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup at Ashton United on Saturday.

Moors will be without four players because of injury, and another two, Jake Hibbs and Ryan Hall, are both cuptied having already played in the competition whilst they were out on loan in September. Two more are carrying injuries sustained in last week’s late win over Kidderminster.

“We’re threadbare at the moment, it’s been a bit of a nightmare sorting the injuries out this week in training,” said Ainsley.

“But I still believe that we have a good enough squad to go and win at Ashton.”

Striker Andrew Johnson, midfielder Shane Henry, plus defenders Stephen Brogan and Scott Harrison are all definitely out, while defender Callum Williams and midfielder Jamie Chandler will both have fitness tests. Another defender, skipper James Curtis, has recovered from a head injury that needed ten stitches during last Saturday’s win over Kidderminster. Ainsley says that he will probably add some youngsters to the squad and fill the bench.

Moors have bad memories of the last time they played at Ashton back in April, when they were beaten 3-0 in the National League North, conceding all the goals in the first twenty minutes.

“Obviously, I want us to start this game better,” said Ainsley. “We didn’t recover from that bad start and gave ourselves far too much to do.

“Ashton had a very impressive away win at Grantham in the league in midweek, and they’ve already had two good wins in the competition.

“We’ve watched them twice, and even though they had a poor start to the season, we know that they are a good side.

“But we’re on a good run, results have improved recently. There’s a buzz around the place, and there are laughs and jokes in the changing room – you get that when you’re winning games.

“Now, we want a cup run like we experienced three years ago when we reached the first round proper.”

Ashton, meanwhile, were relegated from the National League North last season, and are currently 15th in the table, without a home win in the league this season. They are better away from home, and in midweek won 4-0 at Grantham.

They have beaten Pontefract and Tadcaster, both at home, in order to reach this stage.

In the other FA Cup ties, Dunston are home to Colne and Whitby face Gloucester at the Turnbull Ground.

Morpeth include new signing Liam Noble in their squad at Nantwich, and Gateshead go to Kidsgrove.

In the BetVictor NPL Premier, South Shields are at home to Atherton, and in the North West Division, fourth placed Marske are at home to league leaders Workington.