Northern League: Confidence growing for Chester-le-Street ahead of crunch battle at the bottom

Easington Colliery (green) take on Alnwick Town in the Northern League last Saturday. Picture by Kevin Brady
Easington Colliery (green) take on Alnwick Town in the Northern League last Saturday. Picture by Kevin Brady

Chester-le-Street manager Colin Wake insists his team are growing in confidence ahead of tomorrow’s home Second Division clash with West Allotment Celtic.

Chester are fourth-bottom, ahead of Allotment only on goal difference, with both clubs just two points better off than bottom club Alnwick Town.

Wake, boosted by last week’s fine point against high-flying Hebburn Town, said: “We have Aaron Reynolds missing through a long-term injury and injury worries over Craig Marron, Michael Hepplewhite and Brid Thompson.

“But we will be looking for another strong performance and build on a decent showing last time out, against a side having the same difficulties as ourselves, with regards to consistency.

“We go into the game with a little more confidence.”

Easington Colliery have their first league match under the new management team of Craig Hughes and Craig Veart when they travel to Billingham Town.

Shaun Smith is expected to be in the Colliers’ squad, having missed last week’s victory over Alnwick game last week.

Jay Martin, who scored on his bow in midweek after joining from Bedlington Terriers, will hope for a start. Brennan Ball and Jordan Hailes are likely to miss out due to injury.

Durham City make the short distance to Esh Winning, having slipped to seventh-bottom spot after picking up just one point from their last three games.

Esh, despite the midweek loss to Bedlington, could go seventh with a win.

Brandon United are just above City in the table and are looking for a positive result against managerless visitors Blyth Town, who are seventh in the table.

Willington, with 10 points picked up from their last four home league games, anticipate a tough encounter at Hall Lane against high-flying Heaton Stannington.

Willington manager Anthony Lee said: “Heaton Stannington are a good squad and in good form, so it will be a tough game, but we are confident of winning.”

Hebburn Town, third in the table, host Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.

Hebburn’s only doubt surrounds striker Channon North, who had to leave training early on Wednesday with a groin problem.

“Ryton will not be easy,” said boss Scott Oliver. “They lost to top-of-the-league Northallerton in the last minute last Saturday and we realise we will need an improvement from last week. I saw a few things last week that we will put right on Saturday.

“We were two minutes from going top, but a late equaliser from a battling Chester-le-Street meant we had to take a point. We were not at our best last Saturday but all credit to our opponents who never stopped working hard all game.”

Crook Town have a few players unavailable at Jarrow.