RYHOPE CW striker John Butler will tonight play his last game before beginning a three-match suspension.
The prolific marksman wants to sign off in style at home to Annfield Plain (7.30pm) as the Wearsiders aim to close in on 100 per cent leaders Stockton Town’s five-point advantage at the top of the Wearside League.
Butler’s ban is not the only concern for manager Martin Swales.
Nathan Johnson is suspended tonight and work commitments sideline James French and James Trewick. In addition, Clayton Davis will need his fitness assessed, but Nathan O’Neil, James Dunn, Callum Charlton and Liam Cox come into contention.
Annfield have made a reasonable start with two wins and a draw in four outings.
Ryhope secretary George McKitterick said: “They will not be easy, but we have picked up 10 points from four games during, scoring 16 goals and conceding only three, so hopefully we’ll be good enough to keep the pressure on Stockton.”
Silksworth CW will play their first game of the campaign at Welfare Park following the laying of a new pitch (7.30pm).
Chairman David Steele said: “It will be a proud moment for captain Daley Clarke leading the team out tonight on what is a brand new surface.
“We had a good result at the weekend and hopefully we can build up a bit of momentum by defeating Hartlepool tonight.”
Pool have doubts over Lewis Turner and David Thompson, but Shane O’Brien, Grant McIver, Craig Risebury and Craig Lines return.
Ashbrooke Belford House, beaten heavily at the weekend, face a daunting derby against third-top Sunderland West End at Ford Quarry (6.30pm).
Belford have added Nathan Burrell, David Christie, Paul Grainger, Jake Moan and Michael Melmore to the squad, but Kenny Taylor, Chris Charlton and Mark Green are ruled out.
West End, with three wins and a draw from four matches, hope that Barry Turton will be available to ensure a full squad.
Easington Colliery host Leam Rangers, who have claimed just one point from four attempts.
Defender James Parkinson and Rhys Weir are absentees for the Colliers, and doubts surround the availability of Ian Redman and Brett Gillatt.
Captain Ryan Mather and Keiran Getting return, and Easington hope that Michael Noble will also be available.
Leam miss captain Anthony Brewis, defender Liam Jobson-Cook and striker Anthony Thompson, but welcome back goalkeeper Scott Young and defender Terrance Cairns. Leon Kane, last season’s leading scorer, may be fit to make his first start of the campaign for the Gateshead outfit.
Horden CW have James Huntley back in a full-strength squad at Wolviston.
Coxhoe Athletic will look to claim their first points of the season at Boldon CA, where Paul Orton, Mark Watson, Gareth Hamlin, Callum Walton and Tom Orton come into the frame.
Brad Cane is a definite absentee and Coxhoe’s final selection will depend on whether Dan Franklin, Robert Tones and Chris Baxter are available.
Harton and Westoe host Jarrow, who will be much stronger with the inclusion of David Mullen, Ross Toward, Brian Johnson and Liam Bayles, though Nick Pain is working.