Sunderland RCA players now have a winning mentality and believe they can beat any side.
This is the assertion of manager Martin Swales, who has dramatically turned around the Wearsiders’ fortunes since he took over a year ago.
Ahead of tomorrow’s First Division clash with Durham City at Meadow Park he said: “The lads just don’t know when they are beaten and recently we’ve scored match winning late goals.
“They are a great bunch, and the club from top to bottom is now totally different to what it was. The committee is absolutely brilliant and I’m just pleased everything is going well.”
“It’s a totally different squad to the one which Swales inherited and only one player is still at the club. It is now my own team and I’m confident we will continue to improve,” added Swales.
Tomorrow, he will hand a debut to Jack Pounder, signed from Ryhope CW, but a massive blow is the news that skipper Clayton Davis could be out for up to three months with a groin injury.
Also absent tomorrow are Liam Hatch and Joe Hughes, while James Armstrong is on the treatment table.
So too are Colin Larkin and Andrew Brown, but there’s a chance they will come through fitness tests.
Because of a dispute between the New Ferens Park landlords and chairman Olivia Bernard, Durham City were unable to fulfil their midweek fixture and have to transfer tomorrow’s game to Meadow Park.
In addition, next week’s FA Carlsberg Vase tie against Seaham Red Star will be played at Consett.
Manager Ian Chandler is concentrating on what happens on the field and has signed Richard Archer from Newton Aycliffe, who is pencilled in for his first game.
Also named are Brad Brooking and Chris Wallace, and Chandler reckons that if they convert their chances, they can get a result.
After going ten games unbeaten, Washington have lost the last two and boss Steven Hutchinson is anxious to avoid a hat-trick of defeats at the expense of Guisbourgh Town.
He said: “Although we didn’t play well in the last couple of games we created chances. The lads were really disappointed and looking to turn it around by making home advantage count.”
Hutchinson has signed Karl Morris from Sunderland RCA and Adam McGuinnes returns to see a full squad at his disposal.
Seaham Red Star face a particularly difficult task at Morpeth Town, who are second top just a couple of points adrift of leaders Shildon.
Manager Mark Collingwood reckons they are playing potential champions. “Morpeth are the best side and I expect them to win the title. They have quality throughout and we go there very much the underdogs,” observed Collingwood, who is without David Scorer, Ryan Burton and Dean Nicholson.
Morpeth also have selection concerns. Club captain Chris Jewels is waiting for the results on a scan to his knee and also sidelined are Shaun Henderson and Steve Anderson, but Lee McAndrew comes into contention.
Bedlington Terriers manager Andy Ferrell is hoping for a good result against Newton Aycliffe.
“Not only do we need the three points to help our position near the bottom, but I’m meeting up with their manger Peter Dixon at tomorrow’s Stadium of Light derby and I don’t want him to rub my nose in it,” quipped Ferrell.
Jarrow Roofing name their strongest squad with Peter Greenwell set to be involved against Dunston UTS, who have Dan Smith suspended.
Dan Halliday resumes and manager Billy Irwin will be hoping that Alex Francis and Dale Burrell are passed fit.