West Auckland go into the unknown when they travel to Oldham in order to play FA Buildbase Vase novices Avro in the third round today.

West are one of the favourites for the competition after reaching the final twice in recent years, but Avro are a surprise package in their first season in the competition, having won promotion to the North West Counties League Division One North from the Manchester League at the end of last season. They’re a community club, that plays on a 3G pitch.

“We’ve had them watched,” said West manager Gary Forrest.

“They’re going well in their league, and have some good players. We need to go there with the fans behind us, and make sure we get something from the game.”

Forrest will include former Darlington defender Chris Hunter, who had a loan spell earlier in the season from South Shields and has now moved permanently, but seven players are either injured or carrying knocks – top scorer Nathan Fisher, and midfielders Tom Portas, Anth Bell, Alex Francis, Adam Mitchell, Michael McKeown and defender Dan Parker.

Shildon face Sunderland RCA at Dean Street in an all Northern League tie.

The Railwaymen will be missing David Palmer and Nathan Steel because both have played already for other clubs in the competition, while midfielder Ben Trotter is suspended. However, winger Jack Blackford is back in the squad after injury.

Shildon boss Danny Moore said; “I think it’s going to be a really tight game, and I can’t imagine there being many goals, but we’re boosted by last Saturday’s performance against West Auckland.”

The RCA have failed to win any of their least twelve matches against Shildon.

In the other Vase ties, last year’s beaten finalists Stockton Town are at home to fellow ENL side Hebburn, while Newcastle Benfield are at home to Runcorn Town.