By Mark Carruthers,
Chris Swailes has challenged his Dunston UTS to continue their impressive start to the season by springing an FA Cup surprise against Pontefract Collieries.
The newly-promoted Evo-Stik East League side travel to the UTS Stadium to face a side that had won three of their first four games in all competitions this season ahead of yesterday’s trip to Sunderland RCA.
That run included a win at much-fancied West Auckland Town and an 8-0 home hammering of Whitley Bay.
Swailes’ side set up the tie with the Colls with an impressive 3-2 win at big-spending Hebburn Town and now the two-time FA Vase winner wants his side to carry their momentum into a tough-looking tie.
“It has been a very tough start to the season but the players have been excellent,” explained Swailes. “It is a difficult start to the season when you face sides like West Auckland, Newcastle Benfield, Whitley Bay and Hebburn Town.
“I suppose people will say I should be surprised by how well we have started but we have a talented, committed group of players and they have done everything we have asked of them.
“We face another tough test against Pontefract because they have just been promoted and they have been flying in pre-season.
“It’s a home draw and sometimes that all you can ask for but now the challenge is to carry on our good start and beat a side from a higher league.”
Swailes, inset, led Dunston to their Northern League Cup win for 13 years last season and they also made it to the final of the Durham FA Challenge Cup.
Progress in the cup is on the agenda again but the former Rotherham United and Bury defender admitted that can come at a price.
“We want to do well in the cup competitions and we did that last season by winning the League Cup and getting to the Challenge Cup Final,” he said.
“You want to do well in the FA Cup because firstly it’s a great competition and because of the money on offer is unbelievable. It can change the future of this club.”