NE Premier League: Cestrians out to crank up pressure on Eppleton
Premier Division leaders Chester-le-Street make the short trip to Church Road on Saturday to take on Eppleton, who will be fighting to hold on to their top-flight status.
The hosts are not safe yet and need vital points to maintain their distance with bottom club Gateshead Fell, currently at 32 points.
The Cestrians, on the other hand, will be looking to maintain their tremendous form, having won their last six league games.
Skipper John Coxon is in buoyant mood, saying: “We are playing very well at the moment, keeping it simple and everyone is contributing to the winning run.
“Individuals are taking the responsibility required and when we are up against it in matches, the experienced players step forward and this helps everyone in the team.”
Coxon welcomes back Richard Waite, but Andrew Bell is away.
Hetton Lyons could help the leaders if they can carry on their recent form, having lost only once in their last five league games.
The Lilywhite Terrace outfit travel to former pace-setters Newcastle, who are without a win in their last three league games and have lost their momentum at the wrong stage of the season.
South North, unbeaten in three games and are just 22 points behind the leaders in second place, have a tricky home game against South Shields, who are fifth. They will be looking to keep the pressure on the leaders.
Durham Academy are up against Benwell Hill, who have shown some real determination in their last three league games, drawing each of them.
This determination has seen them drag themselves slowly away from the relegation zone and now have a 56-point cushion between themselves and Gateshead Fell.
Whitburn, unbeaten in their last two outings, have probably done enough to survive again this season and they welcome bottom club Gateshead Fell to the Village Ground.
Fell are desperate for survival points and must make up ground quickly on Benwell Hill, with only five games left.
Whitburn skipper Ross Carty said: “If we win we will be safe, but we are not complacent at all. We have a decent run-in and are looking upwards, not downwards.”
Fell skipper Mark Lockey added: “We would have liked to have won last week obviously (against Eppleton), but we are slowly closing the gap and certainly not panicking. We need a couple of wins though.”
Tynemouth, who are fourth, have only won one match in three and have seen their title challenge falter of late.
They welcome Stockton without professional Tahir Khan, who is with his wife for the birth of their child, and replacement professional Taufeeq Umar comes in.