SUNDERLAND face a tough task on Saturday if they want to end their current run of poor results as they make their way North to Alnwick.
Alnwick are in hot pursuit of the league’s top two and are always a formidable side on their home turf.
Sunderland are sweating on the fitness of three of their back line, with Ian Dobson, Greg Littlewood and Matt Francis all needing to prove their fitness at training today.
In the pack, Andy Wordsworth moves into the back row in the absence of Andy Black and Bryan Finlay, with Craig Elstob replacing Wordsworth in the second row.
In a slight reshuffle, Martin Watt moves to the blindside, with Andy Mackie moving to eight.
With only one fixture confirmed, it is looking likely a joint seconds and thirds side will take on Washington.
All available players are asked to meet at the club for 1.30pm.
Sunderland away to Almwick, Meet 11.30am: Arrowsmith, Harrison, Ross Elstob, Belfield, Wordsworth, Watt, Mackie, Bains, Dobson, Watson, Francis, Townend, Abraham, Littlewood. Reps Buckley, Carter, Matthews.
H Seaham and Houghton are both on their travels in Durham and Northumberland Division Three on Saturday.
H Houghton, sitting third, go to mid-table Hartlepool Athletic, while Seaham – given a boost of confidence with last week’s success at Chester-le-Street – face a daunting visit to second-top North Shields, who are battling Whitby for the title.
H Durham City will be confident of adding to the woes of second-bottom Northern in North One East when they visit the Newcastle side (3pm).
H Horden, up to fifth place in Durham and Northumberland One, are away to second-top Darlington, who have lost just once all season.