By Ben Lightfoot
Blyth Spartans look forward to fighting for a place in the First Round proper of the Emirates FA Cup as they face Wrexham at Croft Park in the Fourth Qualifying Round.
The Spartans drew 1-1 at home against Banbury United in the National League North last time out, with Michael Richardson getting on the scoresheet.
There are still a number of injury concerns in the squad, with Danny Barlow and Nathan Buddle definitely ruled out. Alex Nicholson and Lewis McNall are doubtful, however Michael Liddle should return to action, along side Rhys Evans who limped off during the draw with Banbury.
Wrexham who were bought by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in November 2020, place second in the National League as they eye promotion to League 2 at the end of the season.
Phil Parkinson saw his side win a 12-goal thriller as they beat Barnet 7-5 at The Racecourse Ground last weekend.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
After our draw against Banbury, Graham Fenton said: “It’s safe to say it was a game of two halves. We were terrible, up there with as bad as we’ve been since we’ve come into that first half, too passive, nowhere near as aggressive, kept giving the ball back and yes, they’re a decent team in possession, but they exploited our passiveness.
“I asked for a big lift in the second-half and we got it, I’m delighted with the second-half performance and on another day we win the game.
“We’ll do our work on Tuesday and Thursday to build up for the game [Wrexham], but hopefully it doesn’t need it to be fair, just knowing the history of the game, it is what it is. There is a reason why it’s going to be on TV.
“We’re looking forward to the day, to a big crowd and you know what the FA Cup is like, you just never know.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
September’s National League Manager of the Month, Phil Parkinson said: “Positives are the attacking was terrific, Elliot Lee’s first home start, I thought he was outstanding, he always looked dangerous and likely to score.
“The negatives are as a team we were lacklustre in our defending and it was almost the jobs done, no it’s not, go again and score. You can’t play like that, we switched off defensively, but Barnet have had games like that this season and I knew they were a dangerous team going forward.
“Of course, any manager who scored seven would be delighted with one part of the team, but not so with the other.”
LAST TIME WE MET
The famous FA Cup run of 1977/78 saw Northern League Blyth Spartans and Third Division Wrexham face off in the Fifth Round in a tie at Wrexham that finished 1-1.
The replay of that match occurred at St James Park in front of a crowd of 42,187 as Wrexham edged the game 2-1 in a game that saw controversy.
The sides also met in the Debenhams Cup Final that same season as Blyth reigned victorious 2-1 away at Wrexham. The second leg at Croft Park ended in a 1-1 draw allowing the Spartans to claim glory and claim their only ever national title.
In a first for the club, our fans in the USA will be able to watch live coverage of the match on ESPN 2 and stream on ESPN+ from 7:30am ET.
There’ll also be radio coverage from BBC Newcastle, starting at 12:30pm.
Alternatively, you can follow the game via our social media platforms.