Sunderland RCA’s big push

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SUNDERLAND RCA are gearing up to make a push for the STL Northern League championsip and promotion to the Evo-Stik League Division One North.

Manager Neil Hixon recently boosted his squad by bringing in two experienced players and he is now tracking a striker.

He said: “Just before Saturday’s game with Tow Law Town, we signed Craig James from Bedlington Terriers.

“He’s a defender and last season captained Harrogate Town. He has also been with Sunderland, Darlington and Hibs, so he’s got bags of experience.

“I also managed to agree a month-long loan deal with Gateshead for Robert Briggs, who plays in centre midfield.

“Both lads impressed at the weekend and now I’m hoping to boost our strike force by signing a player who is currently playing in the STL.”

Tonight, the Wearsiders travel to Marske United, never a happy hunting ground for Hixon.

RCA are second, just a point behind West Auckland Town who could find it tricky at home to Ashington.

Both sides were involved in gruelling FA Carlsberg Vase ties at the weekend and Hixon will be hoping that West, in particular, feel the pressure of playing twice in four days.

Whitley Bay, winners of the Vase in the last three seasons, were knocked out and will now concentrate on winning the title.

They are fourth, equal on points with third-placed Spennymoor Town.

Whitley host Shildon while Dunston UTS are the other team involved in a five-horse race for the championship.

Dunston coasted into the quarter-finals of the Vase and manager Billy Irwin insists his players will not be distracted when they meet Bedlington Terriers twice this week, starting at the UTS Stadium tonight.

He said: “We want promotion and therefore cannot take our foot off the pedal in the league. We’ve got to get six points on the board before we visit Peterbrough Northern Star a week on Saturday.”

Two sides in the bottom three will be fighting for points in a bid to avoid the drop.

Jarrow Roofing, winners over Stokesley SC on Saturday, face a tough task at home to Bishop Auckland.

Roofing boss Richie McLoughlin has three players doubtful and will need to check the availability of Kevin Davison, Chris Hughes and Danny Carson before finalising his squad.

Tow Law Town are second from the basement and although well clear of Stokesley SC, are 11 points adrift of Penrith, who are just outside the relegation zone.

The Lawyers are at home to South Shields.

In Division Two, Easington Colliery could hardly face a more daunting task than taking on Gillford Park in Carlisle.

Although the Colliers experienced a rare success on Saturday, Gillford have been rampant recently and moved into second place when they scored seven times against Thornaby on Saturday.

Easington general manager Andy Colledge reports that James Huntley has asked to go on the transfer list.