Hutchinson looks for response in Washington’s Terriers trip

Sunderland RCA's Reece Noble battles against Whitley Bay last weekend

Sunderland RCA's Reece Noble battles against Whitley Bay last weekend

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Washington manager Steven Hutchinson claims he is not too fazed at his team’s recent lack of form.

But he is looking for a quick return to winning ways, starting in tomorrow’s Ebac Northern League First Division game at Bedlington Terriers.

“I don’t think we’ve played badly and perhaps we only need a bit of luck going our way to kick on,” said Hutchinson, whose men blew a 3-1 lead in last week’s 5-3 home loss to Newcastle Benfield. “We were unbeaten in our first 10 games but have taken only one point from the last five, so it’s important we get a result tomorrow.”

Striker John Butler, talisman Joe Walton, full-back Stephen Stewart and centre-back Greg Swansbury return, but work commitments keep out former Durham City player Conor Okus.

Bottom club West Auckland face a potentially pivotal clash at Norton and Stockton Ancients, who are just two places and three points better off.

Two managerless sides clash at Sam Smith’s Park. Steve Bowey recently left Newcastle Benfield and, last week, Ian Chandler departed from Durham City.

In Division Two, Ryhope CW are fourth, with three games in hand on all the sides above them.

They entertain Birtley Town, boosted by the return of influential centre-back Leon Ryan, but David Gordon and Stephen Francis will require fitness tests before boss Gary Pearson can name his side.

Definitely out are Martin Metcalfe and Nathan O’Neill.

Second-placed Chester-le-Street have the chance to reduce South Shields’ lead to five points when they host Alnwick Town.

Manager Colin Wake is looking to build on last week’s performance and put together an unbeaten sequence before Christmas. His only absentees are Craig Mickle and Micky Allen.

Alnwick, meanwhile, have appointed Adam Laidlaw as managerm with Ross Flintoff his assistant.

Top-six side Easington Colliery go to Tow Law with manager Paul Frame and assistant Craig Parkinson looking for an improved performance. The Colliers were hard-pushed to claim a draw at lowly Birtley Town last Saturday.

New signings Rob Hall and Mark Robinson could be handed debuts at the Ironworks Ground and Ian Redman also comes into contention following his return from holiday.