Three back in action as RCA prepare for Team test

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SUNDERLAND RCA’s chances of claiming all three points in tonight’s Ebac Northern League First Division game against Team Northumbria at Meadow Park are enhanced with the return of three key players.

Manager David Lee reports that Gavin Barton, Nathan Wilson and Phil Horsman, who all missed the FA Carlsberg Vase tie at Bridlington Town on Saturday, are back in action.

Lee said: “Since I took over, I haven’t been able to name the same team for two consecutive games but I’m pleased to be making changes tonight with the three lads available.”

RCA’s only doubt surrounds goalkeeper John Carmichael, who picked up a groin injury at the week-end. If he is unable to play, Craig Shields will deputise.

It’s an important game for both sides, who are near the basement. The Wearsiders are two places above fourth-from-bottom Team, with only three points separating the pair.

Durham City, buoyant at defeating table-topping Shildon on Saturday, are sixth ahead of their game with ambitious Celtic Nation at New Ferens Park (7.45 pm).

“We go into the match with great confidence and hope to make home advantage count after playing our last four fixtures away. Celtic Nation, though, will be a strong test,” said manager Adam Furness, who welcomes the inclusion of James Oates into a full-strength squad.

City will move into fifth position if they win, while West Auckland Town will leap into the top six if they see off Bishop Auckland in the local derby.

It’s the battle of the bottom two at Bedford Terrace when pointless Billingham Town line up with Hebburn Town, who have claimed just two points. The Teessiders gave by far their best display of the season at the week-end when they lost by only one goal to Dunston UTS.

In Division Two, Jarrow Roofing boss Richie McLoughlin hopes his players can sustain the performance they showed on Saturday when they defeated Lancashire side Nelson in the FA Carlsberg Vase.

Roofing definitely miss Dan Kirkup, Stuart Nicholson and Liam McBryde and a doubt surrounds the fitness of Ian Davison, who had to be substituted during the last game.

Meanwhile, holders Spennymoor Town have been handed an away tie when they start their defence of the FA Vase next month.

Jason Ainsley’s table-topping Northern League side will visit North West Counties League strugglers Winsford United on November 16, while Shildon have an attractive tie at still unbeaten West Auckland.

FA Vase, second round: Whitley Bay v Runcorn Town, Cleethorpes Town v Morpeth Town, Maine Road v Billingham Synthonia, AFC Emley v Jarrow Roofing, Dunston UTS v North Shields or Crook Town, West Auckland v Shildon, Ashington v Worksop Parramore, Winsford United v Spennymoor Town, Whickham v Parkgate, Newcastle Benfield v Cheadle Town. Ties to be played on November 16.