The match of the day in Division Two tomorrow sees second-top Ryhope CW hosting leaders South Shields.
The visiting Mariners lost for the first time in 22 games when they went down to Morpeth Town on penalties in the FA Vase on Wednesday night.
Ryhope line up Phil Hall, Josh Home Jackson and Matty Weirs, while Shields boss Jon King will need to check on his players before naming the team.
Shields – with former Sunderland star Julio Arca available – hope to hand competitive debuts to Ibby Hassan and John Grey, while Danny Carson will return after being cup-tied. Lewis Galpin remains out injured.
Shields are sure to bring a big support with them to Recreation Park, with Ryhope expecting their biggest crowd in years – despite the counter-attraction of neighbours Sunderland RCA’s FA Vase tie.
Third-top Chester-le-Street could find it difficult at fifth-placed Team Northumbria. There have been a couple of changes at Chester Moor Park.
Mark Pattison has joined from Whitley Bay, while Kevin Dixon has moved to Tow Law Town.
Durham City, who have taken only three points from the last six games, face another difficult test when they line up with fourth-top Dunston UTS in the First Division.
Manager Chris Moore observed: “Dunston is a hard place to visit, but we’ll try our best to take something from the game.”
David Coulson, signed from North Shields, is set to make his debut and City are further boosted with the inclusion of fully-fit Ross Wilkinson.
Dunston, buoyant after reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase, are also challenging for a double.
They are fourth-top, nine points adrift of leaders Shildon, and manager Billy Irwin will insist that his players forget all about the possibility of going to Wembley and work hard for the three points.
“I want the lads to carry on from where they left off last Saturday. With Steve Bowey, Mattie Fisher and Gary Shaw back in the squad, I’m hopeful for a win,” he said.
Washington could go fourth if they see off Consett at the Nissan Sports Complex.
Manager Steve Hutchinson has not named his team yet, while opposite number Colin Myers has Kieran Megran, Stephen Little and Dan Madden on the injury list.
“Both teams have been inactive for too long. I think it’s fair to say my lads are a bit rusty, so it’s going to be one of those games which could go any way,” claimed Myers.
Seaham Red Star could step up to mid-table if they beat basement side Norton at Seaham Town Park.
Star lost the reverse fixture 2-0 but have come on leaps and bounds since and, with an almost full pool of players available, start favourites.
Manager Mark Collingwood lines up Lee Kerr, but the injured Carl Thorpe is a definite absentee. Norton, eight points adrift of safety, are also minus just one player, Dale Mulligan.
Jarrow Roofing, with games in hand on most sides, are in the bottom six before hosting championship contenders Guisborough Town at Boldon.
Manager Richie McLoughlin still has to do without Anth Smith, who is recovering from a broken hand.
Two teams in the bottom five meet in a six-pointer. West Allotment, five points and three places better off than Bedlington Terriers, have David Webster back from injury.
Boss Jon McDonald is looking forward to getting a game in, saying: “It’s a crucial match for both sides and if we can get a win it will move us further away from the drop zone.”
A boost for Bedlington is the news that Dan Staples, who suffered a serious head injury in the first game of the season, is likely to make his comeback.
“Having Dan available is like signing a new player. It’s a game we can’t afford to lose, but I’ll be going all out for maximum points,” said Ferrell, who awaits news on the availability of Mark Dummett.
Ex-Sunderland U21s defender Tom McNamee has moved to Scarborough Athletic with the best wishes of Newcastle Benfield, who visit Ashington.
Following a long injury list for most of the season, Ashington boss Steve Harmison reports that only Scott Blandford cannot play in the Woodhorn Lane meeting.