Workington supporters have been starved of good Cup runs for too long so could be forgiven for a shrug of the shoulders ahead of Saturday’s Preliminary Round trip to the Northern League’s West Allotment Celtic.
When the draw was made for the two preliminary rounds in July, there was the prospect of a Cumbrian derby at Penrith. Darren Edmondson’s side only had to see off Celtic at Frenchfield and Reds would be playing a rare away tie in the County.
It was not to be, though, and Celtic won 2-0 to set up Workington’s first ever visit to the East Palmersville Sports Pavilion in Newcastle.
West Allotment have endured a nomadic existence since the late nineties, playing at several different grounds in the Newcastle area. The two sides have never met at first team level and that is still one of the joys of the FA Cup – meeting opponents from different leagues and visiting ‘new’ venues.
Celtic, who play Workington, Carlisle City and Penrith in their next three home fixtures, are currently 13th in the Northern League’s top flight having won one, drawn one and lost three of their opening five games. Their solitary league win was a stunning 7-1 success over Pickering Town.
Links between the two clubs are few and far between although Dean Douglas did play for both clubs a decade or more ago. More recently, Guilherme Baltazar, made one appearance for us a trialist last summer.
This will be Danny Grainger’s fourth FA Cup tie as Reds’ boss and, so far, he has suffered two defeats with just one victory to celebrate. He played in the competition a dozen times for Carlisle United scoring against St. Albans City, Gillingham, Yeovil Town and Welling United with one of his final appearances, as a player, at Sheffield Wednesday.
The surroundings will be a bit different on Saturday but the manager is keen to make progress in the competition and also obtain a first win of the season after a defeat and a draw in the opening two league matches.
Prize money for this round will see the winners collect £1,444 with the loser’s payment £481.
Should the match result in a draw, the replay will take place at Borough Park on Tuesday.
Admission: Adult – £6, Concession – £3, U11s – £1
Postcode: NE12 9HF