ALTHOUGH they have so far not made the impact they did last season, Sunderland RCA manager Neil Hixon is far from despondent.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Ebac Northern League First Division game at Marske United, he said: “I thought we played really well on Tuesday night (the 3-1 defeat to West Auckland) and should have won by a country mile. How in the world we ended up getting beat is beyond me.
“But things are just not going for us at the moment. For instance, we hit the post twice with their goalkeeper nowhere in sight.
“One of these days we are going to give a team a right scudding!”
Hixon, who took in the Bedlington Terriers and Bishop Auckland game on Wednesday night, is still looking to strengthen the squad, despite signing striker Gavin Barton from Newton Aycliffe last week.
“Gavin scored twice on his debut and he really should have been on the mark against West Auckland on Tuesday. He is a proven goal scorer and will be a big asset,” observed Hixon, who welcomes the return of Johnny Butler for tomorrow’s visit to the seaside.
Durham City have lost Stephen Thompson to Darlington 1883 which is another blow to manager Dickie Ord.
“We continue to lose our main players but we have got to stay competitive and do what we can with a young squad,” observed the former Sunderland defender.
The match of the day is between third top Spennymoor Town and West Auckland Town, who are one place and a point ahead of their rivals. Remarkably, Moors have not conceded a goal in five games.
It is an awful long time since Dunston UTS propped up the table, without a point following five matches.
To compound their problems, they made their exit from the FA Cup at Kendal Town earlier in the week and desperately need a good result when Whitley Bay visit the UTS Stadium.
“Clearly it’s not going our way but we will stick together and the tide will turn. I’ve got the same squad as last season when we won the FA Carlsberg Vase so there cannot be much wrong with the side,” claimed manager Billy Irvin who will give late fitness tests to Terry Galbraith and Ben Cattanach.
Whitley Bay have made an indifferent start and boss Ian Chandler is pleased to have Seb Anzevui and Brian Smith back in his squad.
Darlington 1883 are in pole position and start favourites against Billingham Town who are pointless following four attempts.
The Teessiders manager Carl Jarrett is pleased to have skipper Alan Cossavella and Craig Norman in contention at Heritage Park.
Goalkeeper Andrew Grainger and Darren Timmens come into the reckoning for Newcastle Benfield at home to Billingham Synthonia who, following a poor start, are now up to mid table.
A big blow for Synners is the news that captain David Hillerby will not play again this season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.