Northern League: Sunderland RCA sweat on four key men ahead of crunch North Shields showdown at Meadow Park

Second Division Easington Colliery (green) take on Yorkshire side Thackley in last week's 2-1 FA Vase triumph
Second Division Easington Colliery (green) take on Yorkshire side Thackley in last week's 2-1 FA Vase triumph
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Sunderland RCA face a number of fitness issues ahead of their attractive home First Division clash with North Shields tomorrow.

RCA boss Martin Swales will have some late fitness tests to contend with, as the fifth-top Meadow Park club have a few doubts.

Colin Larkin, Steve Callen, Kevin Gordon and centre-back Greg Swansbury are all struggling, but Swales hopes to have one of two, at least, back for a tough match against the only unbeaten side in the division.

North Shields’ new boss Jon McDonald takes charge for the first time following his midweek arrival from West Allotment Celtic.

North Shields spokesman Sean Redford said: “We have no new players coming in from what we have already got. We expect a tough game, but the squad have a lot of confidence coming off the last few results.”

Ryhope CW head to West Allotment Celtic and it’s a case of five out and four in for Gary Pearson’s men.

Ryhope are without Lee Chapman, Nathan O’Neill, Elliott Woods and Harvey Saunders who all injured, and Tom Bott is suspended, but Stephen Francis, Chris Trewick, Joey Melvin and Chris Bell all return to the squad.

West Allotment have a fully fit squad apart from Dale Pearson (injury) and Barney Robinson (suspension).

New Seaham Red Star manager Chris McCabe, who has brought in Adam Johnston as his assistant, has his first league match in charge when they entertain second-bottom Chester-le-Street.

Both McCabe, who was previously assistant to former boss Mark Collingwood, and Johnston have enjoyed distinguished playing careers with some of the best teams in the North East. Both are also former Red Star players.

Former FA Vase winner Denver Morris has joined on loan from North Shields, and McCabe expects to choose from a full squad, although there is a slight injury doubt over David Scorer.

Table-topping South Shields could welcome back Gavin Cogdon after a hamstring injury for their home game with Newcastle Benfield, while ex-Sunderland star Julio Arca is expected to be available again after missing the 0-0 midweek draw at Marske United.

Jarrow Roofing go into their game at Guisborough Town, with new joint manager Mark Collingwood in the dugout for the first time.

Collingwood left Seaham Red Star after their FA Vase defeat at West Auckland last Saturday, before joining Richie McLoughlin at Roofing in midweek.

The new management structure will see the two men share control and take different areas of responsibility.

The joint managers see a difficult match, despite both teams occupying a lowly league position.

Collingwood said: “We are a work in progress, but I can’t wait for my first match in the Roofing dugout. We will improve, believe me.

“The squad is threadbare at the minute, but we will be adding to it in the next few weeks. We look forward to testing ourselves against a talented Guisborough side.”

McLoughlin said: “It’s always hard going to Guisborough, and it’s made more difficult with us being down on numbers.

“It feels like a big ask at the moment, but if we keep on giving our all, then things will change. And the change we’ve made with the management structure can only aid our development as a team and a club.”

Roofing had eight players missing against West Allotment in midweek. Tom Bailey is rated as 50/50 to make the team, having suffered an injury early in Tuesday’s match, while Dan Kirkup serves the final game of his suspension.

Corey Barnes is on the long-term injury list, while Nick Hay and captain Alex White are also absent, though Jamie Marshall is fit to return.

Washington, third-bottom in the table but with games in hand on all but two teams, are eager to secure only their second league victory when they entertain bottom club West Auckland at the Nissan Sports Complex.