Same opponents ... different competition!

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SUNDERLAND RCA take time off from the STL Northern League tomorrow when they line up against Bishop Auckland for the third time in less than two weeks – this time in the FA Carlsberg Vase, writes Malcolm Pratt.

After defeating their rivals by the odd goal, last Saturday’s contest finished goalless and manager Neil Hixon expects another close result.

He said: “We should have won at their place last week and I’m confident we can make progress tomorrow, when I may give one or two squad players a run-out.

“That is not to suggest I’m taking the tie lightly. We desperately want to win. A cup run is good for the club, players and fans.”

Hixon, who will be without Harrison Davis, is still trying to bring in a striker after being thwarted in a move for Sonny Andrews, who chose Spennymoor Town instead.

“We’ve put in seven days’ notice to Billingham Synthonia for midfielder Kieron Edwards and we are in talks with Durham City about Josh Home Jackson, so there could be developments in the next few days,” added Hixon.

Birtley Town will aim to upset the form book at South Shields, but assistant manager Barry Fleming is not underestimating the size of his team’s task.

“We are in the bottom half of the STL Northern League Second Division and they are in the top flight, all be it with just one win in six.

“The Mariners are favourites. It will be a competitive game but we’ll give it out best shot,” declared Fleming, who reports that brothers Matt and Stephen Telford and James Alsop return.

South Shields are hoping to obtain clearance from the RAF for Andy Brabbs to play.

The player had permission to play for Hebburn Town, but the authority wasn’t transferable and a new application has had to be submitted.

“I’m reasonably hopeful that Andy will be available, but I’m not holding my breath for Jamie Scope.

“He has played in America and we made an initial request on August 23, for his international clearance which still hasn’t been received,” reported secretary Phil Reay. The Mariners miss Stephen Ramsey but Michael Rodenby returns to a near full-strength squad.

Ryton and Crawcrook Albion name recent signings Denver Morris and Ross Atkinson and they are hopeful of bringing in Ryan Arnott in time for him to play against Crook Town.

Easington Colliery, beaten by Ryhope CW in the Durham Challenge Cup on Wednesday, face a difficult challenge at Jarrow Roofing.

Bedlington Terriers are favourites at Northallerton Town, where joint manager Keith Perry could have Tony Shandran, Stephen Richardson, Stephen Bowey and Tom English in the frame.

For their home tie with Whitehaven, Billingham Town have Shaun Boynton and Richard Dacombe in contention, but boss Carl Jarrett has concerns for Glen Butterworth and Michael Dunwell.