SUNDERLAND West End manager Anth Nelson reckons tomorrow’s fixture against high- flying Easington Colliery is a must win game.
He told the Echo: “If we are to keep in contention with the leading pack then we have got to take all three points.
“It’s as simple as that.”
Nelson will continue with Brad Foster and Luke Bell at the heart of the defence, while David Keithley will be looking for a start up front. Fit-again Stephen Lax also comes into the frame.
Easington are third-top and manager Paul Frame and assistant Craig Parkinson await news on Liam Beeston and Ian Redman, who have been on the treatment table this week.
Although Dale Spence, Luke Page, Nick Doyle and Marc Moon are likely to be available, David Paul and Bryan Norton are suspended.
Horden CW moved into second place with Wednesday’s empathic 5-2 victory over Prudhoe Town. They host third-bottom Harton and Westoe CW, with Ethan Payne banned.
Manager Keith Brown’s only injury concern is for Darren Atkinson, who has been troubled with a knee problem.
Harton have shown improvement recently and they are boosted by the availability of Martin Nugent, Jon Armstrong, Jack Burrell and Ricky Brown, but Scott Cooper is suspended and James Hedley injured.
A blow to Silksworth CW is the decision of Liam Gill, who has scored 22 goals this season, to join Northern League neighbours Ryhope CW.
“He was scoring goals for fun so obviously attracted attention and we had lots of offers for him. Clearly, he will be a hard act to replace” said vice chairman David Steele.
The Colliers host Boldon CA, with James Hepinstall and Keith Robinson now added to an injury list which included striker Willie Crew.
However, Leon Symons, Michael Brunning and Carl Thomas are back.
Ashbrooke Belford House go to Wolviston, who are only off the bottom by virtue of having a better goals difference than Annfield Plain.
Joint manager Asa Dobbing includes newcomer Mason Burton, with Lewis Hutchinson, Mark Green, Callum Hodgkinson and Scott Kelly also competing for places in the starting line-up. Dale Wells and David Scott are two absentees.
Wolviston go without club captain and centre-half Shaun Gregory and injury also ruled out striker Chris Burton. Also missing, because of work commitment, is Ian Danby.
Two sides in the bottom six clash at Hill Top, where Leam Rangers have home advantage over Jarrow.
Leam are still without the suspended Leon Kane, while Gordon Hutchinson and Gavin Williams are unfit, but Anth Huddart is expected to come through a fitness test.
Jarrow cannot name goalkeeper Gary Frater, Andrew Barclay or Darren Morton, but Gary Taylor and Paul Trosh will be listed on the team sheet.
Dennis Brown, who was recently appointed manager of Seaton Carew, is having to rebuild the squad. He’s hoping that Tom Heselton, who impressed making his debut last week will be available for the home fixture with Cleator Moor Celtic.
Shaun Hopkins and Carl Winspear are also expected to play and, because regular goalkeeper Elliott Hogg is ruled out, 16-year-old Liam Wright could be handed his first start.
It’s a case of one in and one out for Prudhoe Town, who entertain Redcar Athletic. Liam Blair is banned, but Kevin Moreland has completed a suspension.
Redcar name new signing Robbie Farrier and Anth Skelton is free from suspension, but teenage defender Will Turnbull has been added to their injury list.
Leaders Stockton Town take a break from league action when they visit Spennymoor Town Reserves in the Monkwearmouth Charity Cup second round.
Manager Michael Dunwell will have a full squad at his disposal, providing Daniel Lowson comes through a fitness check. He received a knock after only 20 minutes in last week’s game with Annfield Plain.
Spennymoor have Philip Best and Robert Thompson available and are likely to field their first-choice line-up.
Hartlepool meet Richmond Town in the Wearside League Cup, boosted by the decision of Shannon Davis to rejoin the club from Seaton Carew.
Manager Terry Hill also names Jack Gibson, but has injury concerns for Luke Naylor, Paul Playfor, Danny Naylor and David Thompson.
Richmond hope to have goalkeeper Karl Latcham and Reuben Bainbridge back, but Bradley Woods and Scott Ryan are both ruled out.