RCA targeting top three with victory over Northumbria

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SUNDERLAND RCA could go third in the Ebac Northern League First Division if they defeat Team Northumbria at Meadow Park tonight.

Following an indifferent start to the season, the Wearsiders have come good but manager Neil Hixon isn’t getting carried away.

He said: “I’ve watched them twice and it will be a difficult game. They are a very good footballing team but seem to lack a cutting edge.”

Work commitments sidelined Richard Paxton at the weekend but he returns alongside David Gordon, who has been out for a month through injury.

Much attention will be focused on Spennymoor Town who line up against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane.

Jason Ainsley’s side boast the only 100 per cent record and amazingly they have yet to concede a goal in eight games.

“Every team is trying to beat us and Ashington came out on top of last year’s fixture.

“It’s always difficult playing them at their place but we’ve just got to play our normal game and hopefully gain revenge for last season’s defeat,” observed Ainsley, who misses a trio of players.

Callum Griffiths is injured, Michael Rae is working while Joe Walton is also unavailable.

A boost for Ashington is the return of midfielder Andrew Dugdale and defender Liam Atkin but manager Gary Middleton will need to assess the fitness of Gareth Williams before finalising his line-up.

Dunston UTS are in the unaccustomed position of second-from-bottom ahead of their visit to Billingham Town, who are only two places above them.

For several seasons UTS have been one of the leading sides and manager Billy Irwin, who steered the Tynesiders to an FA Carlsberg Vase Final victory in May, admits they’ve got to stop leaking goals.

He said: “We need to improve at the back and start picking up points as soon as possible. I can’t remember the last time we were in this position.”

Michael Robson is suspended and the availability of Stephen Shaw is uncertain.

Billingham Town will no doubt aim to field the same side that thrashed Newton Aycliffe 8-0 on Saturday.

Aycliffe visit South Shields with the unenviable record of having taken just three points from 10 games. They have also conceded 30 goals, more than any other side.

The Mariners expect to hand a debut to Sebastien Anzevui, signed from Whitley Bay but both Stephen Ramsey and Johnny Wightman are ruled out. A doubt also surrounds Tony Coe who had to be substituted in Saturday’s match.

H West Auckland will fly the flag on behalf of the ENL in tonight’s FA Cup Second Qualifying Round replay at Harrogate Town.