NE Premier League: Sunderland youngsters learning from late-season push up the table
Sunderland travel to Brandon on Saturday and are looking to push themselves into sixth place in Division One.
That would be a creditable achievement after an awful first half of the season.
The Ashbrooke outfit did not win their first league game until the middle of June, but have won four of their last six matches.
Sunderland spokesman Mike Smith said: “When we click, we click, our youngsters are gaining valuable experience this season, with Elliot Smith, Louis Dinsdale and Sam Brigham all doing well for the first team.”
“They will all benefit from this, next season.”
Boldon are eager to claim fourth place in the table, looking to show good progress from last term.
They travel to Washington, who have had a much better second half to the season.
Burnmoor will be pushing them for that fourth spot and they entertain Seaham Harbour, who have had an indifferent season.
Moor have Kevin Dixon back in the team and spokesman Ian Linsley said: “We are meandering towards the end of the season, but we want to finish on a high.”
The race for the title changed hands yet again last weekend, and now Felling have pole position in their quest for promotion to the Premier Division.
Sacriston could only draw at Burnmoor, while Felling smashed Washington at High Heworth Lane, to take an 11-point advantage going into the last two games.
Both teams will be fully aware that they play each other in the final match of the season, so there are still some fascinating possibilities,.
This weekend, Felling will fancy their chances at Mainsforth and a win will give them a massive advantage going into the final-day decider.
Sacriston, meanwhile, have a difficult home game against third-top Willington.
Sacriston are at full strength and unchanged, but are awaiting news on Will Gidman.
Spokesman Iain Bestford said: “We have slipped to second again after last week in this see-saw of a season, but we are confident going into the last few games.”
Willington still have an outside chance of snatching the title, and skipper James Stock added: “It’s a tall order, but who knows what might happen in the next few games.”
They have Jamie Dass back, but Connor Hodgson is unavailable.
At the bottom, Tudhoe still have a chance to avoid relegation.
They managed to claw back six points last week on Blaydon who lost heavily at Sunderland, but the gap is still 27 points going into the meeting of the two this weekend.
A draw would suit Blaydon, but Tudhoe have nothing to lose and if they can repeat last week’s impressive batting effort against Seaham Harbour then they have a chance. If Tudhoe lose however, they will be relegated.
Blaydon are strengthened by the return of Gary Stewart and David Bailey.