BUOYANT Spennymoor Town start firm favourites at bottom club Ryton tomorrow, but assistant manager Perry Briggs insists his players will take nothing for granted.
He said: “Yes, we were on a high, defeating rival championship challengers Shildon earlier in the week, but you can quickly come down to earth with a bump in this game.
“Ryton have won only once and have conceded 93 goals, but they are still there to be beaten and we’ll need to be up for the task.”
A blow for Moors is the news that Paul Stephenson is likely to be out for the rest of the season, after having a cruciate ligament operation of Tuesday.
Also missing tomorrow are Alex Francis, Craig Hubbard and goalkeeper Craig Turns, who will be replaced by Simon Bishop.
Sunderland RCA visit third bottom Stokesley and manager Neil Hixon delays announcing his squad. Richard Logan, who hit a hat-trick against Gateshead Reserves on Wednesday, is included and Leon Carling is also available.
Leaders Consett, away to Billingham Town, hope that international clearance arrives in time for Richie Slaughter and Stephen Aiston to be added to the squad.
“The two lads played while studying in America but are now home and I’m delighted to have them on board,” declared boss Kenny Lindoe, who reports that Lewis Teasdale may not play again this season.
Andrew Cuthbertson, Carl Piecha and goalkeeper Barry Poskett are doubtful, but Lindoe expects Michael Coulthard and Kieran Megran to be available.
Billingham Town chairman Tommy Donnelly claims he is sleeping a lot easier these days after the threat of a winding-up order was removed on Christmas Day.
“We didn’t know whether we would still have a club, but everything has worked out and we now really look forward to every match knowing it will not be the last,” said Donnelly, who reports that manager Carl Jarrett has now selection problems.
Newcastle Benfield are third ahead of Billingham Synthonia’s visit and manager Paul Baker has John Campbell – who played for Scunthorpe Reserves against Leeds on Tuesday, having previously had trials with Swindon and Leyton Orient – to spearhead the attack. Kieron McDonald should return.
Baker said: “There is definitely interest in the lad from three clubs and we’ll just have to see where it goes. At present, I’m just delighted to have him in my side.”
Kieron McDonald returning.
Although fifth-bottom Synners have reached the last 32 of the FA Carlsberg Vase, their priority is to stay clear of the relegation zone. Joint manager Michael Watson expects David Yale, Nathan Jameson and Mark Scott to be available.
Jarrow Roofing have home advantage against West Auckland and boss Richie McLoughlin misses Michael Rodenby, who is likely to be sidelined for six weeks. Doubts surround the fitness of Ian Dixon and Chris Hughes.
In Division Two, Seaham Red Star travel to Carlisle for their fixture with Gillford Park. Manager Kevin Turns hopes to have Neil Gough and Chris McCabe making the journey.
Following an enforced break of two months, Chester-le-Street hope to at long last return to action when Whitehaven visit Chester Moor Park. Manager Stuart Sherwood’s only absentee is the suspended Stephen Halliday.
Horden CW face a difficult task at promotion hopefuls Marske United, who scored eight times at Crook in midweek.
Colliers manager Brian Honour expects to name Ash Corker, who has had trials with Grimsby Town this week. Martin Langley, Danny Parker and Lee Armes also return.
Honour, meanwhile, was delighted with the arrangements which the club made for the midweek friendly with a Hartlepool United XI.
He said: “Mick Wadsworth and Micky Barron were both present. The game was arranged to raise funds for us but was also a great PR exercise and I hope to continue building bridges,” he said.
Washington must check on the fitness of goalkeeper Dan Molyneux for their game at bottom club Morpeth, who include recent signings Michael Burn and Lewis Ruddy.