JONATHAN Rimmington hopes a dodgy pitch doesn't trip his Liversedge side up when they visit Sunderland Ryhope CW in the FA Vase Third Round today.

Despite Ryhope crushing a good Campion outfit 4-0 earlier in the competition, Rimmington insists Sedge should win if they play to the best of their ability.

But having spoken to Abbey Hey, who lost 1-0 in the second round up there last weekend, Rimmington has his concerns.

He said: "We win this if we play like we can. It should be nothing to do with them in that sense, as it's down to us.

"But there are some obstacles in our way. We've done our research and they play a tight 4-4-2 on a slow, small pitch.

"I've heard from Abbey Hey that their changing rooms aren't very nice, the grass is long and it's a poor surface, so we're expecting a muddy battle up there.

"They do have some decent players to watch out for though, as always with those teams in the North East."

A physical battle might suit Sedge. They are a tall, strong side, especially up front, and their wins over Newcastle Benfield (5-2) and Guisborough Town (4-1) in previous rounds saw them come from behind to win the game with ease in the last 30 minutes.

Rimmington insists teams can't cope with Sedge's play and legs late on, and that's before we get to his big squad.

They suffered a surprise 2-1 loss to Emley in a home friendly last weekend, but Rimmington isn't worried, saying: "We were winning 1-0 and they couldn't get the ball off us in the first half.

"But we used 20 players and we'd changed the whole team around by the end.

"No disrespect to Emley, but we'd have beaten them by five if that had been a league game.

"We didn't have Joe Walton or Ash Flynn playing, so we had Ollie Fearon up top, when he's more of a wide player.

"Joe is massive for us, and Ash looked so sharp in training this week.

"Once we get (centre-half) John Cyrus back, we can go three at the back and play a formation where we can have Joe and Ash down the middle together, and they'll dominate teams."

The Northern Counties East League is restarting this weekend after a lengthy break, but with Sedge not playing due to their FA Vase commitments, it means they will have only played six league games ahead of their Boxing Day clash with Albion Sports.

Asked if the upcoming schedule might catch up with them in their promotion bid, Rimmington said: "I think we can cope as we have a big squad.

"Everyone is capable of stepping in, if people get injured or we're playing twice a week.

"It might get difficult, but we'll address that if needed.

"We've got a couple of lads on trial at the moment, and there's one I'm sure we'll sign, who used to be a scholar at Bradford City.

"He got a bad injury and fell out of love with the game a bit, but he's still only 23 and I'm sure once he gets fit and firing, he can get back up the league ladder."

Off the pitch, there has been a sombre mood at Sedge over the last few weeks, since the tragic death of their coach, Simon Emery, at the age of just 46.

But Rimmington highlighted a lovely gesture from the chairman at training on Thursday which has lifted spirits.

He explained: "Joe Walton has scored over 100 goals now for us, and when the chairman came to training, he revealed that he'd bought him a Lordship, so he's now Lord Joe Walton and has a piece of land in Scotland.

"Mind, he's also got me one, so I'm Lord Rimmo now. After Simon's funeral on Wednesday, it's just given everyone a lift, and the WhatsApp group has been buzzing with everyone joking about it since training."

Laughing, Rimmington added: "I've told Joe we can go shooting together this weekend now we're a pair of lords."

Back on the field, there is a trio of away games in the NCEL Premier Division for our sides today, with Thackley at Maltby Main, Albion at Staveley Miners Welfare and Silsden at Goole.

Eccleshill United will host Ossett United in a friendly in front of a small crowd, while down in Division One, Campion will be able to welcome 150 home fans for their game with Selby Town at Scotchman Road.

Steeton are away in the North West Counties League First Division North at Pilkington, while Brighouse Town will be able to have a small crowd for their home game with Workington in the Northern Premier League North West Division.