Northern League: Mechanics at full strength for North Shields challenge

Washington (blue) threaten the Sunderland RCA defence earlier in the season
Washington (blue) threaten the Sunderland RCA defence earlier in the season
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Washington will climb to fourth in the First Division if they return to action and defeat North Shields at Nissan Sports Complex tomorrow.

Manager Steve Hutchinson has good reasons to bemoan the enforced lay-off, saying:

“Before the weather intervened, we were on a high, with three wins on the trot and I’m hoping we can regain momentum, but obviously it won’t be easy against the Robins.”

One positive as a result of recent inactivity is that Hutchinson now has a fully-fit squad which also includes Ross Preston and Conor Okus, who have returned from holiday.

North Shields, who reached the fourth round of the FA Carlsberg Vase by defeating Runcorn Town on Monday, will give a debut to Lee Mason.

The ex-Blyth Spartans player has been signed from Whitby and also in contention is Adam Forster, who has recovered from an injury – but Denver Morris is definitely out.

Durham City meet Ashington at their temporary Consett home. Boss Chris Moore has brought in David Coulson from North Shields, and he is set to make his debut.

Ross Wilkinson, Aidan Haley and Ross Stead are also in his plans, but Moore anticipates a difficult afternoon. “Ashington have a good squad of players and will come looking for a win,” he said.

Ashington manager Steve Harmison has had to contend with a long injury list all season, but his only absentee tomorrow is Scott Blandford.

Jarrow Roofing travel to Whitley Bay without Anth Smith, who is recovering from a broken hand.

Whitley are without Alex Kempster, who is still trying to complete a three-match ban, but Richard Flynn resumes.

Jack Stanger has returned to Hillheads and manager Paddy Atkinson has signed Michael Williamson on loan from Gateshead – but a back injury could delay his debut.

It’s second-bottom versus top when Bedlington Terriers welcome Shildon.

“We’ve only played one game in the last few weeks, but the lads have worked very hard in training and are itching to go,” enthused Terriers supremo Andy Ferrell.

Newcastle Benfield host West Allotment Celtic in a Tyneside derby and there’s a chance that goalkeeper Andrew Grainger will feature.

He has been out all season through injury but recently returned to training.

In Division Two, second-top Ryhope CW’s game at Thornaby is off, denying Gary Pearson’s side the chance to move within six points of South Shields.

Third-placed Chester-le-Street are at home to Brandon United in a 1.30pm kick-off because of floodlight problems, but new signing Mark Pattison is ruled out, as is Lee Mole.

Manager Colin Wake is looking to bringing in a striker to boost his attacking options.

Northallerton, after a series of wins following Darren Trotter’s arrival as manager, are scheduled to visit Easington Colliery, who welcome back Mark Robinson and Dan Martin, while Jack Devlin is expected to be handed his debut.

Easington await fitness tests on Michael Watson and Liam Hodgson.