by Malcolm Pratt
IT’S 60 years since Silksworth CW last won the Sunderland Shipowners’ Cup.
Their chances of replicating the 1954 feat will be tested to the limit in tomorrow’s first round tie at home to on-fire Stockton Town.
The Teessiders, gunning for a third consecutive championship, boast the only 100 per cent record. Nine wins on the bounce have yielded the impressive goals ratio of 45 for and only four against.
“It will be a though ask, but we have home advantage and they only beat us by two goals at their place earlier in the season,” reflected vice-chairman David Steele.
Manager Scott Cameron is boosted by the return of leading scorer Liam Gill, Andrew Place, Liam Hodgson, Michael Brunning and Glen Hargrave but Mark Robinson is a definite absentee.
In addition, Alex Kempster has moved to South Shields.
Stockton are riding on the crest of a wave and boss Michael Dunwell will have a full squad of 22 players travelling up the A19.
Sunderland West End delay announcing their side for the visit of Cleator Moor Celtic to the Quarry View Complex.
Chris Lax has returned to manage Richmond Town following a two month absence. The Yorkshire club were unable to field a side for last Saturday’s fixture at Cleator Moor Celtic but Lax had a full complement of players for the midweek game at Harton and Westoe.
He brings in Scott McNichol and Ryan Coles for the home Monkwearmouth Charity Cup tie with Jarrow.
Easington Colliery will move into pole position if they win at Seaton Carew. Manager Paul Frame and his assistant Craig Parkinson need to go without Dale Spence and have fitness concerns for Brett Gillatt and Liam Beeston. Fortunately, Ian Redman, Marc Moon and Michael Pattison come into the frame.
Ashbrooke Belford House are decimated for their game at Annfield Plain.
Joint manager Asa Dobbing cannot name Lee Andrews, Ian Potts, Ryan Veich, David Christie, Mark Green, Dale Wells, Jonny Dunn, Martin Deacon or Shaun Petch.
He’s keeping his fingers crossed that Ross Stead, Jake Moan, Kirk Hardy, Stephen Bogie and Clarke Stead will be able to play.
In contrast, Annfield Plain boss Keith Sheardown has his strongest side available with Michael Bell, Rob Lavery, Johnny Bone, Dan Nichol, Kallum Telfer and goalkeeper Grant Scott all coming into his plans.
Horden CW could find it difficult at Spennymoor Town Reserves who have steadily moved up the table and are now in the top six for the first time.
Colliers’ boss Keith Brown could hand a debut to Jack Stonehouse and Darrin Atkinson and Martin Fowler also comes into contention.
Chris Freeman and Robert Taylor are injured and other absentees include Ryan Brymer and Chris Tarn.
Wolviston miss club skipper Shaun Gregory with a recurring knee problem and acting captain David Johnson is also doubtful. His calf injury could sideline him from the home game with Boldon CA.
Hartlepool could make a number of changes to their line up at Prudhoe Town. Scott Stephenson (ankle) and Danny Maughan (dislocated shoulder) are definitely out and there are fitness doubts concerning Shane O’Brien (head) and Bradley Staunch (calf) but Matthew Kelsey, Craig Lines, Shaun Scotter and newcomer Carl Winspear are named.
Redcar Athletic will aim to extend an impressive away record at Leam Rangers and their chances are boosted with the return of Liam Wood, Luke Woodall, Chris Bivens, Lee Blackburn and Jamie Lee. Leam have goalkeeper Maikel Moens back but Liam Jobson-Cook, Craig Hall and captain Chris Lowther all miss out.