Washington manager James Clark is looking for his players to make amends for last week’s hammering as they seek vital First Division safety points at Ashington tomorrow.
Last week’s 10-1 mauling from Sunderland RCA, a fifth straight defeat, left them just a point above the drop zone, with on-form third-bottom side Guisborough Town breathing down their necks.
Clark said: “We have a full squad available and last week was completely unacceptable. The lads know what they have to do.
“We’re in a big relegation scrap, and they need to take some pride in themselves and their performances and are looking to put last week out of the way and make things right.
“They have started this week well to rectify that through the way they’re training, and are determined to put it right.”
Ashington will be without skipper Craig Scott, Shaun Bell and Andrew Bulford, who are all out injured.
Ryhope CW, without a win in seven games despite some encouraging performances, entertain Newton Aycliffe.
Elliott Woods returns, but Matthew Weirs is out with an ankle injury, Nathan O’Neill with a blood clot, Kyle Davis with a calf strain and Stephen Francis with a pulled calf muscle.
Assistant manager Stu Gooden said: “We were very pleased with our performance against Dunston last Saturday (2-2 draw) and the score was a fair reflection on the game.
“We have two home games left, and are desperate for six points to finish the season on a high. It’s been a season where we set an objective to stay in the league, which we have done.
“It will be a tough game against Newton Aycliffe, but we’re really looking forward it.”
Sunderland RCA have a tough trip to Marske United, looking to follow up last week’s 10-1 derby win at Washington.
Meadow Park manager Martin Swales said: “We welcome back Ross McNab and Brad Wilson, but Neal Bussey is away, Jonathan Davis and Clayton Davis are working and Liam McBryde is on his honeymoon.
“Craig Hodgson is out with a knee injury, Craig Hubbard with a calf injury, Luke Richardson with a knee injury, and Kieran Graham o is also injured.
“We’ll be struggling to get a team together and are expecting a very tough game against Marske, who we have played twice this season and lost twice. We beat Washington 10-1 last Saturday, so we’ll be going to Marske in good spirits and hopefully get a good result.”
Seaham Red Star end their season the way they started, with a home match against third-top Morpeth Town.
Red Star began with a 3-1 home FA Cup loss to the Highwaymen back on August 6 and face another tough task as they look to consolidate 12th place,
Morpeth manager Nick Gray said: “We have a full squad available with the exception of Michael Turner, who is working. We want to keep up our good run and finish the season on a high, and just play to our best ability.”
The game of the day is at North Shields, where the leaders host second-top South Shields in a crucial title showdown.
North Shields lead by three points but have played two games more, so they must need to win to stand a chance of the title.
Mariners secretary Philip Reay said: “We won our 30th consecutive game in midweek against Consett, which now matches the record for consecutive competitive victories.
“We have doubts with injuries over Carl Finnigan and David Foley, plus Steven Ramsey will be out for some time with a broken leg.
“Other than that, we have a full squad to choose from.”
North Shields have a fully fit squad. Boss Jon McDonald said: “We can only take care of our business now. We have three home games, starting with a big game against South Shields, and we look forward to that one and will do all we can, to take the three points.”
Relegated bottom club Chester-le-Street host Penrith and have fitness doubts over Chris Stephenson, Joe Hailes, Mark Pattison and Lee Mole, who all sustained injuries last weekend.
On the plus side, Aaron Reynolds returns from suspension.
Consett welcome Newcastle Benfield, with doubts surrounding Michael Sweet (ankle) and Jordan Lavery (hamstring), while Jordan Ellis returned to action in midweek.
Chairman Frank Bell said: “Benfield are on good form and we can’t give them any ball opportunity or they’ll take it. They also have Paul Brayson and John Campbell, who are proven goal scorers.
“It’s a very important game for us, as we’re still trying to finish in the top six, so we need those three points.”
Shildon, down to fourth place, journey to Jarrow Roofing without suspended player-manager Daniel Moore and skipper Jamie Harwood.
Anthony Bell has left the club, but Danny Parker and Daniel Groves are expected to return, with new signing Daryll Hall also available to bolster the defence.
Billy Greulich Smith, Adam Burnicle and Lewis Wing are carrying injuries and will need fitness tests.
Roofing have midfielder Lee Kerr away.
Boss Richie McLoughlin said: “There’s no doubt that this will be a hard game, however the side we have now is more than capable of matching them. It’s our last home match of the season, so I hope the fans will turn up in good numbers to watch us.”
West Auckland, still not guaranteed to be safe from the drop, have a tough task at in-form Whitley Bay.
Official Cliff Alderson said: “We will be without goalkeeper Lewis Graham due to suspension. A possibly doubt is Dale Elgie, who will have a fitness test.
“Whitley Bay are doing well, they’re on a good run. It will be a difficult game. We want to go there and get something from it, but it won’t be easy.”
Whitley manager Marc Nash misses suspended goalkeeper Tom Flynn, so youngster Dan Lister, who has impressed for the Reserves, makes his first-team debut.
Top scorer Callum Patton returns, but Liam Brooks, who scored against Jarrow Roofing in midweek, picked up a rib injury in that game and is a doubtful starter.
Sixth-placed Bishop Auckland host Dunston UTS, who miss Chris Youldon.
Carl Jones and Michael Tait return for Dunston. Official Bill Montague said: “This will prove to be a very stern test on our visit to one of the best teams in the league.”
Second-bottom West Allotment Celtic have resigned from the league, but will fulfil their fixtures until the end of the season. They host third-bottom Guisborough Towne.
Treasurer John Alexander said: “It’s a massive game. Guisborough have been getting very good results and are on a winning streak.
“We did very well against North Shields last Friday, holding them to a 1-1 draw. The confidence has certainly improved.”