BUSY Kirkbymoorside are having to shuffle players around to keep them fresh for their first-ever Monkwearmouth Charity Cup final on Bank Holiday Monday.

The in-form Moorsiders, third in the Wearside League, are in the midst of a hectic period, and manager Alex Strickland has had to be careful with his squad to keep them firing.

They beat Coxhoe Athletic 4-3 in a thriller last Wednesday night, saw off Silksworth 2-0 on Saturday and defeated New Marske 3-2 on Monday night, to maintain an outside chance of snatching the title.

Tonight (Wednesday) they will look to keep that run going as they host Willington (6.30pm), and on Saturday they entertain Easington Colliery – all ahead of their biggest game of the season on Monday when they play host to Ryhope CW in the cup showdown (1.30pm).

The Monkwearmouth Charity Cup is one of the oldest football cup competitions in the world, and this will be Kirkby’s first appearance in any Wearside League final.

Rob McDermid was a hat-trick hero against Coxhoe with Liam Cooper also on target in the seven-goal thriller.

Against Silksworth, Strickland rested Ryan Cooper and Martin Cooper came on in the second half. A couple of other players were unavailable and Uyi Ehima was missing through injury.

The Moorsiders enjoyed the major share of possession early on, Ryan Rivis seeing an effort blocked on the line with one of few scoring chances.

Adam Magson denied Gary Tyzack at the other end on the half-hour mark as Silksworth woke from their slumbers.

That spurred Kirkby into action and Silksworth ’keeper Tony Mustard had to save a 25-yard effort from Sean Walker and then shots from Rivis and Johnny Brown.

Three minutes before the break, Matty Bower saw a thumping shot from the left corner of the penalty box hit a post, while Silksworth had two shots blocked before half-time.

The game desperately needed a goal to kick start it into life and one finally arrived on the hour mark.

A throw from Bower was cleared to Liam Cooper on the edge of the penalty area and he placed the ball accurately into the bottom corner of the net.

The second goal came on 74 minutes when a sweeping diagonal ball from Paul Hodgson picked out Martin Cooper and he took it into the area before lashing past Mustard from 12 yards.