NE Premier League: Table-topping Sacriston miss former Durham star Betts for Burnmoor crunch

Jack Lacey could be back for Seaham Harbour against TudhoeJack Lacey could be back for Seaham Harbour against Tudhoe
Jack Lacey could be back for Seaham Harbour against Tudhoe
Sacriston take a slender, six-point lead over Felling in the race for the sole promotion spot in Division One - with just three weeks to go.

On Saturday, Burnmoor entertain leaders Sacriston.

The leaders have youngster Solomon Bell and Will Gidman back to strengthen their team, but Melvyn Betts is unavailable.

Coach Iain Bestford said:“The pressure is on and we will be going for the 30 points, we are taking each game as it comes and still remain unbeaten.”

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The home side have Kevin Dixon back from holiday and spokesman Ian Linsley said: “Sacriston will be champing at the bit to beat us, so it should be a good game and we would like to take the opportunity to win the game.”

Felling are at home to Washington and must win to keep the pressure on the leaders.

Willington, in third place, 39 points behind, have an outside chance of promotion if both of their rivals slip up.

They are at home to mid-table Mainsforth and must win to keep the pressure on the pace setters.

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Willington have lost professional Anand Singh, who has returned home, and Jamie Dass is on holiday, but Connor Hodgson and Steven Bradwell come in.

Skipper James Stock said: “It’s unfortunate to lose Anand at this stage of the season, as we probably won’t win the league now, but we will give it our best shot and take each game as it comes.”

Mainsforth have Jack Thirlaway back, as well as Dan Smith, but are without the holidaying Gary and Aidan Cummings.

Tudhoe have three games in which to save themselves from relegation and their last three league games are all against teams in the bottom four.

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They have a 33-point gap to make up, but they have to start winning and the first of those three games, is against Seaham Harbour at home.

Stuart Lacey, the head of Harbour’s selection committee, said: “We are not really having the best of luck lately with injuries and at crucial times in games.”

They are without Umar Akhtar and Andrew Boal for this weekend, but there is positive news regarding Jack Lacey, who will face a late fitness test.

Blaydon and Brandon, the other team teams down in the bottom four, face challenging games away from home.

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Blaydon travel to Sunderland and have bowler Gary Stewart back for the Ashbrooke showdown.

Club stalwart Jack Chapman said: “We will be relying on our bowlers to keep their batsmen under pressure, because they seem to be scoring a lot of runs at present, so it will be good to have Gary back.”

Brandon travel to Boldon, who are fourth.

The home side have Philip Shakespeare back and may also have Durham and Scotland batsman Calum MacLeod available. Unfortunately, professional Umar Waheed has returned to Pakistan to take part in a T20 competition.

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