Seaham Red Star will be looking to extend an encouraging sequence of results when they take on relegation-threatened Durham City in tomorrow’s First Division clash at Seaham Town Park.
Mark Collingwood’s men have won three in a row to move into the top 10 for the first time since they were promoted from Division Two at the end of last season.
“We’ve won the last three matches and played some very good football. We are all looking forward to tomorrow’s match aiming to make it four wins on the bounce and continue our climb up the table,” observed secretary David Copeland.
Liam McBryde played his first 10 minutes in two months last week after recovering from a broken ankle and is expected to be named by manager Mark Collingwood.
Star’s recent signing from Easington Colliery, striker David “Busta” Paul is serving a three-match ban, while work commitments keep out David Scorer and Nicky Kane.
Durham City have lost the last six matches and are the only side which failed to pick up a point during this period.
They have slipped to third-bottom spot – only three points above Bedlington Terriers and Norton and Stockton Ancients.
Manager Chris Moore, though, is confident following an encouraging performance last Saturday.
“We played well against Marske United and were drawing when the game was abandoned. Red Star are on a good run and it will be another tough game, but, with Mike King and David Coulson available, I think we can get a result,” claimed Moore.
The Citizens will be hoping that Sunderland RCA do them a good turn by defeating bottom club Norton on Teesside, but manager Martin Swales is cautious.
He said: “They’ve had some strange results recently and they’ll work hard, so it’s going to be a difficult encounter.
“But, with two new signings in the squad, I’m hopeful.”
Right-sided midfielder Kieran Graham, signed on loan from Sunderland AFC’s Under-18s until the end of the season, will make his debut, as will Jonny Wightman, brought in from South Shields.
But James Armstrong is a definite absentee, while Luke Proctor and Liam Hatch will need their fitness assessed before Swales is able to finalise his 16-man squad.
Bedlington Terriers are second from the basement before going to North Shields, who are now in the bottom half of the table after losing in midweek at Red Star.
New boss Ian Chandler is looking for a change of luck when he takes Whitley Bay to Consett.
“Since I came back as manager we’ve lost two games by a single goal. We’ve got some good players and we are a better team than our fourth-from-bottom position suggests,” said Chandler, in his second stint in charge at Hillheads.
“I’ve brought in Jake Fowler from Consett. I had him at Durham City and he’s a good player. I’ve also signed Ryan Noble from Esh Winning and the pair will feature at the Belle View Stadium.”
Leaders Shildon, who have scored 25 goals and conceded only three when taking maximum points from the last six games, make the short trip to neighbours Bishop Auckland, who are in good form themselves, having picked up 13 points out of the last 18.
Shildon have an 11-point lead over Guisborough Town, who go to fourth-top Newton Aycliffe in the clash of the day.
A win for Aycliffe will lift them above Morpeth Town into third place.
Jarrow Roofing boss Richie McLoughlin has made a big statement by signing prolific scorer Michael Mackay from Consett, but Callum Patton has moved to Morpeth Town.
Mackay, Corey Barnes and Jordan Lartey are named in the squad for the home fixture with Marske United.
Dunston UTS missed seven regulars when they were hit with a five-goal defeat last weekend and tomorrow Liam Connell, Dan Halliday, Scott Martindale and Adam Wilkinson are again sidelined against relegation-threatened West Allotment Celtic.