RYHOPE CW, buoyant after defeating Crook Town in midweek, return to the bread and butter of the Wearside League title race tomorrow when they visit neighbours Sunderland West End.
Martin Swales’ side, who together with Redcar Athletic and Willington have applied to join the STL Northern League, lead the table but only by one point.
“It’s another important game. As things stand at present, only one club will be promoted, so we’ve got to make sure we finish at the top,” declared Ryhope secretary Doug Benison.
A boost is the return of John Harrison, Lenny French and Nathan Johnson, who were all cup-tied against Crook.
West End have come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of months and are now seventh, with games in hand on five of the sides above them.
Joint manager David Bond says that Lloyd Conlon and David Keithley are banned, but Jonathan Greener, Gavin Dorwood and Jamie Bond are back for the Ford Quarry clash.
“It’s a big local derby and we are all looking forward to it,” enthused Bond. “We’ve been in a rich vein of form recently and I’m confident we’ll give them a good game.”
At the other end of the table, Silksworth Rangers are fighting to avoid the wooden spoon
They are just a couple of points and one place ahead of basement side Coxhoe Athletic, who have four games in hand.
Rangers could hardly face a more difficult task than visiting title-chasing Redcar Athletic. Goalkeeper John McLean was injured in the final minute of last week’s game and will be replaced by Adam Don.
Another blow is the news that James Gilhespy, who returned last week after a two-month lay-off, has suffered a recurrence of his thigh injury.
Silksworth, though, will take a squad of 17 south, including recent signings Andy Jamison and Simon French.
Redcar manager Roy Hunter has a near full-strength squad to choose from, the only absentee being the injured Andy Bell.
Coxhoe Athletic, with just two wins and a draw from 20 attempts, travel to Kirkbymoorside minus Dan Shannon, Craig Ferguson and Paul Orton. In addition, Christian Schofield and Anthony McDonald are doubtful.
Peterlee Town’s new management team of Paul Frame and Craig Parkinson continue to boost numbers.
Recent signings include James Parkinson (Seaham Red Star), Brett Gillatt (Chester-le-Street), Dale Spence (Sunderland RCA), Anthony Rodgerson, Paul Carr (Silksworth Rangers), Daley Clark (Sunderland West End) Adam Croft (Easington Colliery) and Philip Robinson (Horden CW).
They could all be involved at home to Boldon CA when Stephen Hubery will deputise for injured goalkeeper Russell Blenkinsop.
Ashbrooke Belford House have home advantage over Cleator Moor Celtic in the second round of the Monkwearmouth Cup.
Manager Tommy Dobbing says that Neil Moan and Dale Wells are definitely sidelined and a doubt surrounds the availability of Mark Egglestone.