Northern League: Caretaker Hotchkiss looks to strengthen Durham City with young talent

Washington's Mark Costello (red) takes on Consett in last week's First Division game, won by the Mechanics.

Washington's Mark Costello (red) takes on Consett in last week's First Division game, won by the Mechanics.

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New Durham City manager Ollie Hotchkiss hopes to freshen up his squad for tomorrow’s third-v-second battle at Stockton Town in Division Two.

Boss Chris Moore left the club last weekend, with Hotchkiss given temporary command.

Caretaker Hotchkiss, who steps up from his role in charge of the Reserves, who play in the Durham Alliance Combination League, said: “I am in the process of trying to bring a few new players in, Dan Gladstone may move on, so I will not have him available.

“At the moment, I’m in charge for the month and I am looking to assemble a young talented side and get us a little higher up the league.”

Stockton miss Sonni Coleman with a pulled hamstring he sustained at Holker Old Boys in last week’s FA Vase tie, but Town have Chris Stockton and Alan Cossavella back after both missed the trip to Cumbria.

Stockton coach Jamie Farley has stepped down after six years, to be replaced by Under-18 coach Jason Hamilton.

Struggling Esh Winning are bottom ahead of their visit to Northallerton, whose four-game winning run ended with a narrow loss to leaders Team Northumbria.

Esh boss Tony Boakes said: “Damon Ellis should be returning and Mark Hodgson should be available. Definitely missing with long-term injuries are Jonny Yip and Callum Lough.

“Northallerton is a hard place to go to, but we’ve been playing ok, but it’s time to start getting points on the board.”

Crook Town entertain Hebburn and secretary Jonathon Hughes said: “At the moment, everyone is available and we have no suspensions or injuries.

“We had a good result last weekend, so hopefully we can put a couple of wins together. The team are starting to play as a unit a bit more, so it’s starting to come together.”

Hebburn were shocked by Wearside League side Hartlepool in their midweek Durham Challenge Cup tie, after making five changes to the team, but they head to Crook looking for a sixth straight league victory.

Alan Pegram misses the game at the Millfield ground, but keeper Steve Hubery returns. Boss Scott Oliver said: “The lads will bounce back as time and time over the years they have followed a bad performance with a good result.

“Maybe it will concentrate the mind again.”

Fifth-top Easington Colliery, who won in the Durham Challenge Cup last night, have a tough game at seventh-placed Whickham.

Tow Law Town host in-form Billingham Synthonia, who have a few injury problems.

They are without Andrew Burton (knee), Steven Huggins (hamstring) and Joe Hillerby (ankle), while Nathan Steel is unavailable.

Brandon United entertain Blyth Town, who have new signing Malky Morien in the squad.

The striker has returned to Blyth from Dunston UTS and is targeting instant promotion for the Second Division newcomers.

Norton & Stockton Ancients manager Michael Mulligan hopes for three points at Willington, who will have taken heart from their Durham Challenge Cup performance against Jarrow Roofing in midweek.

Mulligan said “The only player out is Liam Brown with an injury. We’re in a good place, we’ve signed a second goalkeeper, Paul Watson from Billingham Town.

“We just need to carry on like we did last week, against a very strong physical team, and need to keep winning. It’s all about sustaining wins.”

“We are looking to strengthen the squad and have our eye on a midfielder, which we hope to get for next week.”