Seaham Red Star and Washington have had contrasting fortunes since they were promoted from the Second Division at the end of last season.
Whereas Red Star are in Division One’s bottom six with just one win in eight attempts, the Mechanics are riding on the crest of a wave, third-top and one of only two unbeaten teams.
It will be interesting therefore to compare the sides when they again lock horns at Seaham Town Park tomorrow.
“We’ve had players missing but four return with Chris Scott, Liam McBryde, Paul Gardiner and Lee Kerr all in contention,” reported Red Star secretary Dave Copeland.
“Dan Robinson, who has had a couple of outings coming off the bench, could start but Sonny Andrews is on his honeymoon and recent signing Phil Gray is ruled out.”
Washington boss Steven Hutchinson admits it took him days to come down to earth after his side defeated Runcorn Linnets in the FA Cup last week.
“What a day that was,” he said. “It was a class act by the squad and now we are off to Marine, from the Evo-Stik League Premier Division, in the next round.”
Before then, it’s back to the bread and butter stuff of putting points on the board and maintain an early season impetus, but Hutchinson will have to do without Mattie Fisher, who has joined Dunston UTS.
Durham City haven’t exactly hit the ground running and this week manager Ian Chandler strengthened his squad by signing Brad Brooking, who was with him when he was at the helm with Whitley Bay.
Brooking is expected to figure at Marske United, but Dan Dillon is a definite absentee and Ross Wilkinson is considered doubtful.
A year ago, Sunderland RCA were rock-bottom but gradually Martin Swales turned things around when he took over at Meadow Park.
The Wearsiders are eighth now and will be confident going into their fixture at Newton Aycliffe after defeating FA Carlsberg Vase winners North Shields on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper James Talbot made his debut at the Daren Persson Stadium and saved a penalty and he’s likely to be involved again, but Joe Hughes is still struggling with an ankle injury.
Leaders Shildon are without a fixture and Morpeth Town will close the gap to a single point if they win at Ashington, where Stephen Forster returns from suspension.
The Colliers are ravaged with injuries and boss Steve Harmison definitely misses six players. The number will rise to eight should Ben Christensen and Matty Grieve be ruled out.
Jarrow Roofing welcome back Danny Carson and Keiran Whiteside at home to Newcastle Benfield, who are down to the bare bones for players.
Among a number of absentees is manager Steve Bowey, who could be out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury.