WITTON Albion are hopeful of having two key players back in the fold for Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Seaham Red Star.

James Foley has missed every game so far this season through an ankle injury but could feature in County Durham if he comes through last night's training session without any issues.

Tom Owens could also be involved after missing the past three games, but boss Carl Macauley rates his chances as “50-50.”


Saturday’s opponents ply their trade in Division One of the Northern League – two tiers below Albion in the footballing pyramid – but Macauley is wary of the threat they bring.

While the financial implications are huge at this stage – the winners of Saturday’s first qualifying round tie will receive £4,500 in prize money – but the Albion boss is not thinking about that.

“The money is massive for the smaller clubs, but that’s not what we’re looking at,” he said.

“The players are focused on trying to get a result on that long journey.

“We’ll have a training session now on Thursday to prepare for Saturday’s game which is huge for us.

“We want to be in the hat on Monday and go as far as we can in this competition.

“Seaham will pose a threat to us but it’s about how we counteract that and impose ourselves on them.

“We got a bit lucky as they were away at Nelson in the FA Vase on Saturday, which isn’t too far so we were able to have them watched. We’re covered in that department.

“They’re a team from a lower division and the FA Cup is all about shocks.

“They’re at home and they will be up for it, but we will be giving 100 per cent to get through.”

Witton go into the game with confidence having beaten fast starters Hyde United in the BetVictor Northern Premier Division on Tuesday night.

That came three days after a goalless draw at well-fancied Scarborough Athletic and Macauley says he has nothing but praise for his squad for their start to the season.

“We still have a long way to go and there’s still learning to be done. There’s obviously a lot of new lads in the team as well as a lot of young players,” he said.

“We brought a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old off the bench on Tuesday night. They have come from college football and we’re trying to bed them in.

“We’ve had a horrendous time with injuries as well, with Rob Hopley out for the season and James Foley hasn’t kicked a ball yet.

“I can only praise the players for doing what they’re doing at the moment because we are really thin on the ground.”

Should Witton draw on Saturday, a replay will take place at Wincham Park on Tuesday and the scheduled league trip to Atherton Collieries will have to be rearranged.