SUNDERLAND take on local rivals Horden at Ashbrooke on Saturday, again looking to kick-start their ailing season.
Tomorrow’s visitors from down the A19 were also struggling, though they arrive on Saturday lifted by their excellent win against promotion-chasing Gateshead.
Despite the early stage of the season, the points will be vital for both sides who occupy the bottom two spots in the league table.
Sunderland are already 17 points adrift of Horden at the bottom of Durham Northumberland One.
Sunderland’s cause isn’t helped with another raft of changes in the back line.
Tom Townend, Jamie Maclennan, and Dom Arkley are all unavailabile this week so in come Michael Brace at nine, while James Tolley and Chris Wardle come in on the wings.
With Townend missing, Sam Jordan moves from full-back to the centres and Brad Fish moves from nine to full-back.
In the forwards, Tom Hirst is rewarded for last week’s performance with a starting berth in the front row. Ross Finch returns on the blindside having missed last weekend’s game through illness.
Sunderland home to Horden - 1pm meet: Hirst, Harrison, Arrowsmith, Carter, Wordsworth, Finch, J Arrowsmith, Belfield, Brace, Francis Wardle, Heffernan Jordan, Tolley, B Fish Reps: Geehan, Black, C Fish.
Sunderland III home to Ashington - Meet 1pm (early kick-off): Marshall, Wright, Turnbull, Belfield Jackson, Edmundson, Harrison, Wayman, Richardson, Grainger, Gallimore, Reah, Logan, Jones, Ditchburn, Stevenson, Clinton, Cowans, Bretdner.