Ryhope, Stockton in championship crunch showdown

Ryhope CW will miss Martin Metcalfe tomorrow
Ryhope CW will miss Martin Metcalfe tomorrow
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SECOND-TOP Ryhope CW hosts leaders Stockton Town in a crunch match tomorrow, with the outcome sure to have a significant bearing on the destination of the Wearside League championship.

Both teams have six games to play and Stockton lead their rivals by three points.

A win for the Wearsiders would lift them into pole position because of their superior goal advantage.

The sides go into the game on the back of 4-1 victories in midweek, but a blow for Ryhope is the news that three players are ruled out.

Martin Metcalfe and Lee Owens are working, while Ross Stead serves a ban.

The unavailability list could grow to a lengthy seven players should Michael Charlton, Richard Jordan, James Cook and Callum Charlton fail fitness tests.

Stockton have been in superb form for several weeks and it was a rare event when goalkeeper Michael Arthur conceded a goal on Wednesday.

Unlike Ryhope, they have only one selection concern, with Luke Whittaker’s fitness to be decided before kick-off.

Manager Stephen Gill welcomes Scott Meehan back into an 18-man squad which gives him plenty of options.

The Teessiders will be out to avenge a 5-1 defeat earlier in the season.

Silksworth CW are at Wolviston for their penultimate fixture and the good news for the club and striker Andrew Place is that he came though unscathed after making his comeback, scoring twice on Monday night.

Place, who has been out for six months with an achilles injury, is again named along with the returning Liam Hodgson, Michael Brunning, Micky Smith and James Hepinstall.

Wolviston will name virtually their strongest line-up, their only absentee being Andrew McGirr, who completes a three-match ban.

Easington Colliery assistant manager Craig Parkinson described Wednesday’s performance against Horden CW as “awesome from start to finish”.

The Colliers are up to mid-table following the 3-0 derby success and could yet end in the top six.

They face a difficult test tomorrow, when third-placed Cleator Moor Celtic visit Welfare Park.

Mason Burton, 18, is set to partner 19-year-old Farran Pope at the heart of the defence. Both players were credited with outstanding displays against Horden, when Mason made his debut.

Mark Swindle also comes into the frame, but Scott Huntley and Nick Doyle are definitely out while there are injury concerns for David Paul and Luke Page.

Horden CW are at home to Seaton Carew, another side looking for a top-six finish.

The Seasiders bring in Craig Garthwaite and Matty Kelsey, but Gary Fleetham is ruled out so young Bailly Haggan will deputise in goal.

Bottom club Hartlepool face Annfield Plain, who have Aaron Reynolds (groin) and Lee Mole (calf) fully fit.

Coxhoe Athletic are four points clear of Hartlepool ahead of their game at Jarrow, where captain Stephen Parnaby, Philip Best, Brad Cane and Chris Baxter are unable to play.

Fortunately, Coxhoe are able to name Neal Charlton and Stephen Wilson.

Jarrow have Jason Pressling and Daryl Turnbull sidelined, but Tom Smith and Nathan Redfern are in contention and Jack Burrell is likely to make his home debut.

Third-bottom Leam Rangers will be look to avenge last month’s 4-0 defeat when they host Richmond Town at Hilltop.

Leam miss defender David Ridley (achilles) and midfield Anthony Brewis (work commitments), while Richmond have Ben Palmer fully recovered from a broken hand.