Dons ready for tough Rail Cup test

Debut: Paul Cooke

Debut: Paul Cooke

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DONS’ boss Tony Miller is hoping that his side get off on the right track in tonight’s rearranged Northern Rail Cup pool clash against Gateshead at the town’s International Stadium (8pm),

“I’m pleased that we are playing it this week,” said Miller. “I’d like to have played it last night in order to give us an extra day before we play York on Sunday but Gateshead’s football club, who share the ground, were at home. It’s not ideal playing two games in five days but it will be the same for York, who are playing Swinton tonight.”

Miller, who felt that Sunday’s game was possibly called off too early given the improving weather conditions, said: “I would imagine that the pitch will be on the heavy side and I remember the last time we played up there in similar conditions they gave us a very hard game so we won’t be treating them lightly.

“It’s their first game of the season, and they are at home, and they’ll be up for it and we are under no illusions; it is going to be a tough game.

“But I’m confident. We’ve done okay in the three warm-up games though it is a different kettle of fish.

“Hopefully Paul Cooke will make a difference at stand-off, though it will take a few games after his long lay-off to get back into the swing of things.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him; I want him to enjoy it. It will be Paul’s first game for over a year and I see how it goes as to whether he plays the full 80 minutes.”