Northern League: Sunderland RCA wary of Chester battlers in fight to end four-match losing streak

Washington (red) take on Guisborough Town a fortnight ago. Picture by Tim Richardson

Washington (red) take on Guisborough Town a fortnight ago. Picture by Tim Richardson

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Sunderland RCA aim to get back to winning ways when they host Division One’s bottom club, Chester-le-Street, tomorrow.

The Meadow Park men have lost their last four matches, conceding 16 goals in the process, and expect a battle against the never-say-die Cestrians.

RCA manager Martin Swales said: “We’ll still be missing Colin Larkin due to his injury and we are unsure of Neal Bussey, as he and his wife are expecting their first child.

“Liam McBryde and also Ross Preston will have a fitness tests.

“Both teams will be wanting to win – Chester-le-Street because they’re at the bottom, and us because we want to stop the run of bad results we’ve had recently.

“We did well at their place earlier on in the season (4-2 in August), but they’ve improved, so we’re expecting a tough game.”

Ryhope CW are also at home, with fourth-top Morpeth Town the visitors.

Assistant manager Stuart Gooden said: “It will be a very tough test against Morpeth, who gave us a good beating earlier in the season.

“They won the FA Vase last year and I can see them going to the end of this season, for the title.

“They’re the best team in the country at this level. Anything we get out of the game will be a bonus, but we’re going to give everything we have got.”

Nathan O’Neill, Simon Ord and Matthew Weirs are still out with injuries, while Stephen Francis will have a late fitness test.

Seaham Red Star are without a match, but must only wait until Tuesday for the visit of Penrith.

Washington, fifth-bottom but nine points clear of the bottom three, will leapfrog hosts West Auckland Town if they can win tomorrow.

West official Cliff Alderson said: “We have a new signing, John Parker from North Shields, available, but we will be without Kerry Hedley, who is still suspended.

“Washington are only one place below us in the league, so it’s a six-pointer game and both teams will be wanting to win.”

Fifth-top Bishop Auckland travel to leaders North Shields, who have a fully fit squad to choose from.

New signing and the returning James Luccock will likely secure places on the bench.

Captain Kevin Hughes said: “We are on an amazing run, the league games we’ve played this year. To say we’ve only been beaten twice is an unbelievable achievement and we need to keep that going for the final 10 games.”

The Robins will go 11 points clear of South Shields with a win, though the Mariners would have three matches in hand.

Shildon, in third, will be wary of West Allotment Celtic in their trip north, with the Tynesiders fighting for survival.

Shildon vice-chairman Jeff Ridley said: “West Allotment Celtic are second off the bottom so we should beat them comfortably, but you never know with football.

“We have no injuries at this stage, so we should have a full squad to choose from.

“The supporters met the new manager (Daniel “Bobby” Moore) this week and discussed his proposals for next year.

“He said he’s got some new players lined up who are yet to be confirmed, some will be people you won’t think of. It was a good meeting and we had a full clubhouse.”

Jarrow Roofing, struggling in fourth-bottom spot, have a potentially pivotal match at home to third-bottom Guisborough.

Richie McLoughlin’s men are eight points better off, with both sides having 13 games to play.