Gateshead apply for Central League
An ambitious Gateshead have applied to put a reserve side in the eastern division of the totesport Central League next season.
The application is expected to be successful and, if so, the Tynesiders second string will face a host of professional clubs reserve sides.
Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Leeds United are three of the biggest clubs in the competition with the likes of Huddersfield Town, Hartlepool United and Scunthorpe also in the division.
As it stands Gateshead would be the only non-league side in the eastern division and matches would be played in midweek.
Home games would be at the International Stadium, where a small entrance fee would be charged, and manager Ian Bogie believes it is another step forward for an ambitious Gateshead.
"First and foremost we have to maintain our status in the Blue Square Premier, but running a reserve side would bring many benefits.
"Having a squad of 23 means it is difficult to keep those not playing match fit, and playing against pro's in the Central League would be a very good experience.
"We are always looking at ways of taking the club forward and running a second string will also increase competition for places."
If their bid is successful Gateshead hope to play some friendlies against Central League sides during the course of this season.
"Playing in the Central League will give squad players a chance to play and to stake a claim for a first team place," said chairman Graham Wood.
"Playing in a competitive reserve league and moving into a new stadium is inkeeping with the progress we want to make at the club."