ACCORDING to arch rivals Redcar Athletic, the Wearside League Championship is now Ryhope CW’s to lose.
Martin Swales’ side won the crunch match between the teams on Wednesday night and are now back in pole position, level on points with the Seasiders with a game in hand and a better goals difference.
“They are in the driving seat and all we can hope for is that Ryhope slip up in their last four games and we win our final three matches,” observed Redcar secretary Kevin Fryett.
The Wearsiders, though, show no signs of weakening as they fight to emulate last seasons’ achievement in winning the title and the three domestic cup competitions.
Tomorrow, they line up against neighbours Ashbrooke Belford House at Silksworth when they will aim to take another step towards clinching the championship.
Swales cannot call upon Liam Cox, Dean Arkely or Chris Trewick while John Butler and Ross Stead will need to undergo checks on their fitness before the manager finalises his line-up.
Ashbrooke boss Tommy Dobbing, anxious for his side to end outside the bottom six, goes without injured pair Lewis Hutchinson and Paul Robertson.
Redcar Athletic make the long journey to Cleator Moor Celtic minus defender Shaun Taylor and another back four player John Seaton is given only a 50/50 chance of playing.
Sunderland West End are still in with a chance of finishing third but their hopes almost certainly rest on them defeating Stockton Town.
The Teessiders are four points in front with a game in hand before tomorrow’s clash on Wearside.
West End’s chances are boosted with the news that David Bond is able to field his strongest squad which includes David Keighley. Stockton have Jair da Silva, Gavin Simcox and Tony Johnson banned. Kallum Hannah has suffered a set back as he recovers from a thigh injury and it may be too early for Matty Hyson to play.
Until recently, Jarrow had their eyes fixed on a top three finish but they are down to sixth before the visit of Hartlepool to Perth Green.
The South Tynesiders have Graeme Matthewson, Peter Kirkham and Brian Johnson on the unavailability list but Chris Goss comes into contention.
Pools are minus injured trio Danny Rowbotham, Kris Summers and Jack Nixon but skipper Ian Davies is named.
Following their heavy defeat in midweek, Kirkbymoorside are boosted against full strength Prudhoe Town with the inclusion of Sarjo Cham, Alistair Holmes, Tom Ellis and Ben Swalwell but a big doubt surrounds Danny Bradbury.
Boldon CA travel to Darlington Cleveland Bridge who include Michael Thraves and Gavin Wilson but neither Dave Vayro nor Nev Fuller can play.