Sunderland RCA facing a hectic run-in

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SUNDERLAND RCA face an horrendous fixture pile-up after they had yet another game postponed on Tuesday night because Newton Aycliffe’s showers were out of order.

“We’ve had an unbelievable number of games called off and have 19 to play by the end of April.

“We’ve only fulfilled 23 fixtures, way behind what most clubs have achieved. Indeed Jarrow Roofing have played 10 games more than ourselves,” observed manager Martin Swales.

The Wearsiders should return to action at championship contenders Shildon tomorrow, but a blow for Swales is the absence of Colin Larkin. The former Darlington, Lincoln, Hartlepool and Gateshead player has greatly impressed since coming in from West Auckland.

Swales could also be without James Armstrong and Andy Brown whose availability is uncertain.

Durham City boss Ian Chandler is looking for improvement at Celtic Nation following three successive defeats.

He said: “Potentially, I thought we could have won all three, but we came out without a point and we need to get back on track.”

Chris Wallace has completed a six-game ban picked up playing Sunday football and Callum Hope is also named.

Callum Patton is doubtful with a back strain, while young Aidan Haley could be out for up to six weeks after breaking his foot last Saturday.

There have been two managerial changes this week. Tomorrow heralds Kenny Lindoe’s last game in charge at Consett, but he stays on as director of football and will focus on developing players and establishing a scouting network.

He has been in management for 25 years, first with Annfield Plain and then Brandon United before taking over the Steelmen 10 years ago.

His replacement is Colin Myers, who resigned as assistant manager of Blyth Spartans earlier in the week.

Lindoe signs off against North Shields, who ironically were his opponents in his first game at the helm with Consett.

Following Ian Skinner’s move to Ashington, where he is assistant to Stephen Harmeson, Bedlington Terriers have moved quickly to fill the vacancy.

They’ve appointed Gary Innes, who in 2013 played cricket for Philadelphia.

He is joined by his brother Lee, but James Harmeson has linked up with his brother Stephen at Ashington, while Scott Blandford and Jack Walker are also expected to leave Bedlington.

Innes takes charge for the first time at Billingham Synthonia, who are now seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Paddy Atkinson took over at Whitley Bay a month ago and is set on rebuilding the squad, but admits it will take time for the glory days to return.

Chris Laws has completed a ban and he is named alongside Bradley Brooking, but Callum Anderson is unavailable against Newton Aycliffe.

Former England test player and Durham pace man Stephen Harmeson will be looking for a hat-trick of wins when Ashington visit leaders West Auckland Town, but he cannot call upon James Taylor, Steven Shaw or Andrew Johnson.

In Division Two, Seaham Red Star aim to take another step towards promotion and possibly the championship by defeating Birtley Town at Seaham Town Park.

Manager Mark Collingwood reckons that if they win the next two games, they will be just about there.

He said: “I think 85 will be sufficient to get us promoted and that we’ll maybe need 95 for the title.”

Collingwood has only 14 fit players for tomorrow’s game with Ryan Burton, Adam Johnston, Warren Byrne and Allan Bird all ruled out.

Birtley Town have lost Derek Waters to Bedlington Terriers and a knee injury keeps out Lee Best.

Washington are second, eight points behind Red Star who have two games in hand.

The Mechanics line up with South Shields at Peterlee, while third-placed Norton and Stockton Ancients have home advantage over Whickham.

After surrendering a two-goal lead last week and losing for only the fourth time in 31 games, Norton boss Andy Campbell is looking for an immediate response but he cannot include the injured Dale Mulligan.

Ryhope CW are at home to Alnwick Town with captain Phil Hall needing his fitness checked before kick off. Leon Ryan is a definite absentee, but Craig Hughes resumes.

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake is looking for an improved performance after what he described as a mauling by South Shields last week.

The Cestrians visit Northallerton Town without Steven Telford, who has fractured his shoulder, while other absentees are Ben Johnson and Rob Draper.

H Dunston UTS make a second attempt to settle the FA Carlberg Vase fifth round tie after drawing at Glossop North End last week.

Manager Billy Irwin is confident that if they play to their potential they can qualify for an away quarter final tie at Shaw Lane Aquaforce.

He said: “We played the last 40 minutes with 10 men, but were still enough to come back from a goal down and force a replay. Although Luke Gilhespy was sent off, he’s eligible tomorrow and I’ll have a full squad available.”