Northern League: New signing Hope set to go straight in for Easington Colliery crunch

Ryhope CW (red) battle against Whitley Bay in last week's epic 4-4 First Division draw. Picture by Tim Richardson
Ryhope CW (red) battle against Whitley Bay in last week's epic 4-4 First Division draw. Picture by Tim Richardson
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Easington Colliery have dropped away from the Second Division promotion race recently and must get back on track when they host bottom club Darlington RA tomorrow.

Midfielder Callum Hope is expected to make his debut after signing from Washington.

Ian Redman and Shaun Smith are missing through work commitments, but striker David Paul is available and could make his first start since re-signing.

Peter Jones is expected to be out injured, while Dylan Nesbitt is likely to be out for some time now, having injured himself again in training.

Crook Town, only three points above the bottom two, need vital points with a tough game at home to Durham City.

Boss Wilf Constantine has a fully fit squad available, excepting Lewis Brown, who has two games remaining on his three-match suspension.

Esh Winning, off the bottom on goal difference, travel to Whickham.

Esh manager Tony Boakes said: “Unavailable due to work commitments are Kai Hewitson, Andrew Clarkson, Joe Kerry and Graham Embleton, but Ben Addison should return.

“It will be good to keep our good run going against a hard Whickham side.

“It will be a tough game, but we’ve won the last three games, so we are beginning to pull away from the bottom of the league now.”

Sixth-bottom Willington are at home to title-chasing Team Northumbria.

Hall Lane secretary Geoff Siddle said: “Graham Lazonby is still out with a shoulder injury. He’s training a little bit now, but should be two or three weeks before he plays, but apart from that, we’re at full strength.

“Team Northumbria are a difficult side - they’re a strong, fit team. It will be a difficult game, but we’ll give it our best shot.”Mid-table Tow Law Town entertain third-bottom Ryton & Crawcrook Albion, looking to extend their five-game unbeaten run.

Lawyers secretary Steve Moralee said: “Two new signings, Matty Moffat and Joe Fairish, who have both been playing local league football recently, are available for selection and we have a full squad to choose from.

“Hopefully we’ll do well. We have been playing well recently, so hopefully we will keep our run going, but we’re taking nothing for granted.”

New Ryton boss Peter Bryson’s sole signing to date, Joe Adams, is expected to figure, while Harry Mitchell is a doubt following his arm injury sustained against Billingham Synthonia last weekend.

David Backhouse is hopeful that his tweaked hamstring will have eased, but Andrew Farrey has left the club. Albion’s run without a win now stretches to 16 league and cup games.

Brandon United, at home to Alnwick Town, need points to pull away from the relegation zone.

Alnwick boss Richard Mitchell, after four successive defeats, said: “We’ll have two new signings, Luc Glasper and Reece Simpson, both from Ashington, who will be in contention. It will be Tom MacPherson’s last game for a month or so, as he’s going to be having an operation on his foot.”

Leaders Stockton Town have Matthew Garbutt back for their trip to Blyth Town. He missed last week’s draw against Hebburn Town.

Third-top Billingham Synthonia, boosted by their midweek shoot-out win at Shildon to reach the Durham Challenge Cup semi-finals, have a full squad available as they entertain Northallerton Town.

Hebburn Town aim to end a six-match run without a home victory when they host Thornaby.

Boss Scott Oliver enjoyed last week’s fine performance in the draw against Stockton. He said: “We were very good last Saturday all over the pitch and I felt we should have won the game - we missed two absolute sitters at vital times in the game that cost us all three points.

“Our home form has been awful of late and I’m desperate to win on Saturday to reward the loyal few that still attend our games.

“We are actually making a loss on our home games and less people are watching now than at any time in the club’s Northern League history, which is very worrying for the club’s future.”

Hebburn miss Glen Hargrave, Adam Rundle and Alan Pegram, but James Davidson may return after injury and Craig Malley is back after missing last Saturday’s game. Kris Summers faces a fitness test after a knee tweak.