ASHBROOKE Belford House face a daunting task tomorrow when they line up against leaders Easington Colliery at Welfare Park.
And to make matters more difficult, manager Tommy Dobbing cannot call upon four regulars.
“Unfortunately, I’m without (captain) Kenny Taylor, Ryan Steel, David Scott and Peter Benson, but Grant Bulmer comes back into the squad,” he said.
“Easington are riding high with 16 wins and three draws from 19 matches, so obviously it won’t be easy,” observed Dobbing.
The Colliers enjoy a nine-point lead over New Marske and are 11 ahead of Ashbrooke, who have played three more games.
With Joe Atherton again absent, Easington will probably line up recent signing Nicki Lawson in goal. Andy Hall also comes into contention while Adam McGuinness will need a late fitness check on his groin injury.
With New Marske on cup duty, third top Ryhope CW have the opportunity to move into second place when they meet Prudoe Town who last Saturday conceded 10 goals.
The Wearsiders miss suspended pair James Dunn and Richard Jordan and Greg Swansbury and Martin Metcalfe are fitness doubts. Prudoe’s only absentee is Andrew Clarkson.
There is a local derby at Leyburn Grove between Houghton Town and Silksworth, two sides in the bottom six.
The hosts have major doubts surrounding Dean Caris and Brad Freeman.
Silksworth, who trail their opponents by five points, cannot name Dean Hannah, Michael Renshaw, Neil Jones or Ryan Mather but boss Steven Smith will still have a squad of 20 standing by.
Boldon CA could hand a debut to Andy Hunter at home to Stockton Town who welcome the inclusion of Reece Connelly, Michael Marron and Mick Waller although David Johnson is sidelined with an ankle injury.
Redcar Athletic have now lost their last four league and cup games and need to return to winning ways at Annfield Plain if they are to challenge for promotion.