SUNDERLAND RCA boss Martin Swales has pulled off a real coup, signing Dan Smart from North Shields to bolster their bid to move away from trouble in Division One of the Ebac Northern League.
Last season, the striker rifled 30 goals as the Robins cruised to an impressive promotion from Division Two and he goes straight into the Meadow Park squad for the visit of Newcastle Benfield tomorrow.
Swales said: “It’s another massive game. I thought we deserved all three points against Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday night and I’m looking to take that form into tomorrow’s match.”
In addition to the arrival of Smart, Craig Price, Gavin Barton, Lewis Wood and Jack Stanger come into contention for RCA, but a groin injury rules out Ross Preston, while Swales has fitness concerns over Joe Hughes and Gary Wood.
Benfield have come good, despite their midweek home defeat to Ashington, following the recent appointment of Steve Bowey as manager for a second spell.
A major boost for Bowey is the return to fitness of star striker Paul Brayson, while Steve Tobin is also likely to be on the team sheet.
Durham City face a difficult test at Dunston UTS, who, after losing the first two games, have won 10 of the last 12.
The Tynesiders name Greg McDermott, signed from Gateshead, but centre-half David Coulson is banned.
Jarrow Roofing, now comfortably placed in mid-table following an uncertain start, host Bishop Auckland at Boldon, with Corey Barnes, Peter Leven and Andy Hunter coming into the plans of manager Richie McLoughlin, who said: “They beat us in the FA Cup replay so we are looking to give them a good game.”
North Shields have taken promotion in their stride and, following four consecutive victories, manager Graham Fenton is confident of making it five wins on the bounce at the expense of visitors Celtic Nation.
Top marksman Gareth Bainbridge and captain and centre-half Kevin Hughes are back, but Stuart Donnison is ruled out.
* Shildon will fly the flag on behalf of the Northern League in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup when they travel to Stoke for their tie with Norton United.
If they win, they will join clubs of the sixe of Sheffield United and Portsmouth in the first round draw on Monday night.
The North East has three other clubs on FA Cup duty.
Spennymoor Town have home advantage against AFC Telford United, from the Vanarama Conference Premier, Blyth Spartans go to Staffordshire outfit Leek Town and Gateshead are big favourites at home to Gainsborough Trinity.