IT’S bottom-versus-top when minnows Horden CW line-up against high-riding West Auckland in the Second Round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup at Welfare Park tonight.
Despite losing only one of their last five games, Colliers’ manager Brian Honour admits his target is to avoid a hammering.
“I’m not being defeatist, only realistic. They are top of Division One and we are bottom in the Second Division so you could say there’s a bit of a gap between us.
“We are never going to win the Cup so I’ll give one or two lads who need to get minutes, a run-out.
“Danny Reeves, Jack Proctor and Andrew Summerbell will probably be involved at some stage and all I’ll ask of the team is for them to run their socks off,” said Honour.
Youngster Anthony Bell, on loan from Darlington, and Reece Morris come into contention for places in the starting line-up.
Sunderland RCA meet Bishop Auckland for the fourth time this season with honours so far in favour of Neil Hixon’s men.
The Wearsiders twice won at Heritage Park while the sides shared in a goalless draw at Meadow Park.
“We have home advantage tonight and it would be nice to complete a hat-trick over them, especially following our heavy defeat by Spennymoor Town at the weekend.
“We’ve now lost four of our last five games but we also beat Durham City, who fielded a strong side so we haven’t suddenly become a poor team overnight.
“Having said that, we have got to get back into the winning habit but it won’t be easy against Bishops, who on Saturday defeated Dunston UTS,” observed Hixon.
Neil Atkinson’s transfer from Ryhope CW finally went through yesterday and he is set to make his debut in goal but Alex Benjamin, signed last week from South Shields, is ineligible.
Also missing is Ian Davison, who is cup-tied having previously played for Jarrow Roofing, and Brian Stewart.
Hixon meanwhile has agreed a deal with Shildon for centre-back Richard Paxton and a move should be completed this week.
Chester-le-Street, buoyed by their crucial victory over Easington Colliery on Saturday, are at Alnwick Town with six players set to return.
“Because of various reasons, we only had 13 players at Easington but Hayden Smith, Lee Chapman, Scott Donaldson, Michael Coghlan, Brett Gillatt and Danny Lee will boost the squad.
“Our only absentee will be Dan Smith with a hamstring injury,” reported chairman Joe Burlison.
The only league game is between South Shields and Whitley Bay.