Washington are aiming to make it three wins on the bounce and climb into fifth place by defeating lowly hosts West Auckland in tomorrow’s First Division clash at the WSI Stadium.
Manager Steve Hutchinson envisages a difficult game after only just defeating West in the reverse fixture at Nissan.
He said: “They were beating us 2-0, but we came back to win 3-2. Since then, they’ve signed new players and improved so it won’t be easy.”
Conor Okus will not play again this year and the Mechanics could also be without Chris Wallace, who is struggling with a leg injury.
West Auckland are second-bottom, sandwiched between Bedlington Terriers and basement side Norton.
Norton travel to West Allotment Celtic, who are also embroiled in a relegation battle. The Teessiders expect Ryan Braithwaite to have recovered fitness to take his place in their strongest squad.
Bedlington go to Bishop Auckland without the injured Mark Dummett, but manager Andy Ferrell is hopeful of a third successive win, with victories over Durham City and Jarrow Roofing moving them off the bottom of the table.
Roofing boss Richie McLouglin is looking to do the double over Consett and his team’s chances are enhanced by the returns of Josh Allen and Corey Barnes.
“We defended badly in the last game with them a couple of weeks ago and will need to do better,” observed Consett manager Colin Myers, who brings in fit-again Ryan McKinnon. Dan Madden, though, is still sidelined.
In Division Two, Ryhope CW will close the gap on leaders South Shields to just three points if they defeat Brandon United at Recreation Park.
Gary Pearson’s side have accumulated 34 points from the last 39, winning their last eight matches. They line up Richard Hodgson, who has been out for three weeks, and their only doubt is Stephen Francis, who will have a fitness test.
Chester-le-Street are third, just a point behind Ryhope, before going to Northallerton, who recently appointed ex-Billingham Town boss Darren Trotter as their manager.
Cestrians boss Colin Wake says that recent inactivity has given his players the chance to recover from knocks and he is set to name a strong starting XI.
Easington Colliery, buoyed by beating First Division Seaham Red Star in the League Cup on Tuesday, are on the fringe of the promotion race.
They host Billingham Town and though James Parkinson and Liam Hodgson are injured, Brett Gillatt, Joe Kerridge, Dan Reeves, Scott Thompson and Peter Jones, who all missed the midweek fixture, are available.