By Dominic Scurr
Setting The Scene
It’s the battle of 8th versus 9th down at Gander Green Lane this Saturday as Gateshead face Sutton looking to climb back into the play-off places following Tuesday night’s narrow defeat at Solihull Moors.
The South London outfit currently sit one place and five points behind Gateshead after a poor run of results that has seen them pick up two points out of a possible 21.
Paul Doswell’s side will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s surprise 3-0 home defeat to the National League’s bottom side Braintree in their previous match.
Gateshead’s defeat at Solihull also brought their eight-game unbeaten start under Ben Clark to an end as Mike Williamson was shown a straight red card just before half-time.
The Heed now sit one point outside the play-off places though a few teams above them currently have games in hand.
And with eight games remaining, Gateshead will be focusing on picking up as many wins as possible to continue their play-off push, starting on Saturday.
Elliot Forbes (hamstring) will be hoping to recover in time for Saturday’s match after missing Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Solihull Moors. Mike Williamson will serve the first of his three-game suspension after the club unsuccessfully appealed his straight red card at Solihull.
Clark could potentially have just 12 senior outfield players to choose from at Sutton on Saturday as he will turn to a few under-19s players to bolster his matchday squad.
What We’re Saying
Ahead of Saturday’s National League match, Gateshead boss Ben Clark said: “I watched Sutton’s game and to be fair to them they do mix it up a little bit.
“They play when they can play and they go a bit more direct other times. But they’re still having a great season themselves, sitting just below us in the table so it’s a massive game for us.
“It’s a game before we have a free weekend so we’re going to go there and really try and win and put on a good performance and hopefully enjoy our small rest after that.”
Watch his full interview…
What They’re Saying
Sutton boss Paul Doswell told SUFCtv following his side’s defeat against Braintree: “The reality is since August, we haven’t had a front two that are competing for the ball and able to hold the ball up.
“We’ve got seven or eight in our team that you’d go to war with but there’s about eight or nine that you wouldn’t and we’re stuck with them until the end of the season and there needs to be a shake-up.
“It’s going to be a tough last eight games to be honest because we’ve asked for improvement, tried to put your arm around them, give them a kick but they’re not responding.”
Watch his full interview…
Only Solihull and Eastleigh (11) have won more National League matches away from home this season than Gateshead (10).
Ticket prices for the game are as follows:
Senior Citizen(60 and over)/Student: £8*
Junior (16 and under): £3
Stand Transfer: £2
Last Time We Met
Back in November, Gateshead and Sutton played out a goalless draw at the International Stadium on Saturday afternoon, in a game of few clear-cut chances.
Steve Rigg fired the Heed’s best chance just wide in the opening 45 while substitute Jonah Ayunga passed up the U’s best opportunity in the final 10 minutes as the hosts played out their first goalless draw of the campaign.
Gateshead (3-5-2): Pears; Kerr, Williamson, Mellish; Barrow (c), Hunter, Olley, White (Molyneux, 65’), Tinkler; Armstrong, Rigg (Boden, 60’).
Subs not used: Foden, Thomson, O’Donnell.
Bookings: Molyneux (90’)
Sutton (4-1-3-2): Worner; Bennett, Thomas, Beckwith, Clough, Collins (c), Bolarinwa (Ayunga, 68’), Brown, Beautyman (Dundas, 78’), Wishart (Drinan, 68’), Taylor.
Subs not used: Davis, Cadogan.
Bookings: Clough (90+2’)
Referee: Daniel Middleton
Attendance: 794 (37 Sutton)
MOTM: Robbie Tinkler