Silksworth CW deputy chairman David Steele is looking forward to “a good old-fashioned colliery match” when troubled Horden CW are on Wearside tomorrow.
“It’s well documented that Horden have problems, but they have our very good wishes and we hope things get sorted out for them,” said Steele.
“In the old days, most clubs were centred around the pits and it feels like we are going back in time.
“Then, there was a bond among miners and this is how we see it now.
“I played for Silksworth against Horden way back in front of big gates and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Silksworth’s chances of claiming all three points are enhanced with the availability of four players.
Leading scorer Adam Storey, Graeme Pickering, David Stephens and Rhys Brown all come into the reckoning.
Horden might be experiencing off-the-field problems, but on it they are in good form.
Back-to-back wins have lifted them into the top six and a win at Silksworth Welfare Park (2pm kick-off) would see them go fourth.
Increasingly, it’s looking likely that one of the three sides currently in the top three will win the championship.
Redcar Athletic lead the field from Stockton Town and Sunderland West End, who are both on cup duty. The seasiders will be confident they can go 10 points clear by defeating lowly Annfield Plain at Derwent Park.
This is the third attempt to play the game and if Annfield are to have any chances of upsetting the form book, they’ll need to curtail the scoring instincts of Andy Jennings.
He is closing in on James Kesterton’s all-time club goal haul of 45 in a season and, if he maintains his recent scoring form, he will almost certainly write his name into the record books.
Redcar have two injury concerns. Danny Wray and Chris Bivens are struggling and, if they are unable to play, it’s expected that Joe Bennett and Jordan Kirk will be the replacements.
Jarrow, buoyant after becoming only the third side to prevent Stockton Town from winning last time out, are at Prudhoe Town, but their chances of success have taken a big knock with the news that seven players are ruled out.
Gary Frater, Alexander Bone, Peter Kane, Nick Pain, Grant Pressling, Dean Black and Liam Bayles are absent for various reasons.
Third-bottom Seaham Red Star Reserves have several players back for the long journey to top-six side Cleator Moor Celtic.
Adam Wilson, Adam Hepple, Liam Hodgson and Ryan Martin will be competing for places in the starting line-up, but Brandon Moran is still a couple of weeks away from making his comeback from a knee injury.
Murton, the only team yet to win, go to Harton and Westoe, while Leam Rangers will be looking to improve on their seventh-bottom placing by defeating Whitehaven at Hill Top.
There are three Wearside League Cup ties.
Sunderland West End take on local rivals Ashbrooke Belford House at Ford Quarry in a first round clash.
Manager Anth Nelson reports that Stephen Lax is banned and George McLean injured, but claims he will still send out a very strong team, including in-form striker Barry Turton.
His opposite number, Asa Dobbing, is not nearly so fortunate and Ashbrooke are forced to field a severely depleted squad.
Mark Green, Kevin Humble, Michael Young, Iain Potts are working, Josh Farquhar, Dale Wells and David Scott injured and Lee Owens is away.
In a second round tie, Spennymoor Town Reserves visit Richmond Town without Rhys Greenwood, who has left to play in Sweden.
Also missing tomorrow is the injured David Atkinson, but David Gibson has served his ban and Mitchell McKenna-Little is also named. So too is newcomer, goalkeeper Jack Patton.
Mark Edzes could line-up in Richmond’s defence now that he is home after being in Kenya for two months.
Hartlepool will be looking to recapture their pre-season form at the expense of lowly Wolviston in their preliminary round tie.
There is one game in the Shipowners’ Cup, with a place in the final at stake.
Stockton Town host Boldon CA and either Alan Cossavella or James Crossman is expected to fill the void left by the transfer of Max Craggs to Billingham Synthonia.
Boldon travel with a full strength squad, including the returning Liam Cox and Shaun Graham.