Northern League: Big selection problems for Seaham Red Star ahead of West Auckland test
Seaham Red Star manager Craig Lynch has big selection problems for tomorrow's home clash with high-flying West Auckland Town.
Seaham will be without long-term injury absentees Andy Johnston, Ash Davies and Nick Kane, while defender Codie Howe is unavailable and Bradley Staunch starts a three-match ban.
Liam McBryde and Liam Hodgson, who picked up injuries last weekend, are also sidelined, while David Scorer, Robbie Bird and Lee Hetherington face late fitness tests.
On a positive note, Luke Bailey and Carl Lawson return to the squad.
Niall Crosby and Harry Johnson, two 17-year-olds promoted from the successful Red Star Under-17s team, made midweek debuts in the 2-1 defeat at West Auckland and are likely to make starts.
Manager Craig Lynch, whose side are just four points above the drop zone, said: “I thought every single one of the lads were outstanding in our game against West Auckland in midweek.
“We had four 17-year-olds in the squad. All my players worked hard and created loads of chances.
“We gave a top side in the league a really good game. If we’d played a different team, we could’ve got our confidence up by winning by three or four goals. But what we need right now are points.
“Unfortunately, this was another loss and does not look great. I couldn’t have asked for any more from the lads, though, and I can’t fault them for their display.”
West Auckland travel without defender Jamie Cobain and manager Gary Forrest said: “The stresses and strains of a backlog of fixtures are starting to tell, with teams playing three games a week.
“It now reverts to the proverbial one match at a time, with niggling injuries and work commitments taking their toll on a squad.
“No matter how fit the players are, fatigue is a big factor. It’s a question of turn up, get stuck in and hope you are rewarded with the points.”
Ryhope CW, with seven wins in their last eight games, travel to Guisborough Town.
Boss Gary Pearson welcomes Danni Lay back after a four-match ban.
Thomas Bott, Richard Paxton and captain Kyle Davis can all play their part.
Manager Pearson said: “We are looking forward to the game. We have been in good form lately, but had a blip at the weekend against Morpeth.
“We got back to winning ways midweek, and having had only one loss in seven games, we’re hoping to continue our good form.”
Guisborough, on a high after two wins and a draw in their last three matches, are almost certain to be without both wingers, Lewis Goldsack and Steve Roberts, with leg injuries. Defender Joe Ferguson is also doubtful.
Relegated Washington host FA Vase finalists Stockton and are likely to be without the injured Josh Allen.
Alex White, Luke Thompson and Pascal Chimbonda could return after missing out in midweek due to work commitments.
On-form Sunderland RCA have a free weekend - despite facing three games in four days from April 30-May 3 – but are back in action at home to Consett on Monday.
Consett journey to leaders Morpeth Town without long-term injuries Dan Hawkins and Ross Coombe, who are unlikely to return this season.
Manager Mark Eccles said: “We should have a strong team to pick from. It will be a tough game, but hopefully we can change our form around and perform well, to pick up some points.”
Lowly Bishop Auckland will be desperate to make home advantage count when they take on Whitley Bay.
After successive wins, they suffered a setback with Wednesday’s 6-0 trouncing from Sunderland RCA.
Billingham Synthonia, away to Penrith, may have Tom Gavin sidelined, due to a hamstring injury.
Secretary Graham Craggs said: “The club continue to strive in difficult circumstances. Hopefully our new manager can finally put his stamp on the team and take this form into next season.
“We have a young squad, with nothing to lose, gaining vital experience that will help them in the future.”
North Shields entertain title-chasing Marske United.
Marske will travel without Leon Carling, who is out for the season. Matthew Bell and Andy Ramsbottom are both weeks away from fitness, while James Fairley is doubtful after a midweek injury.
Dunston UTS welcome Team Northumbria for their fourth game in six days.
Ashington, at home to Newcastle Benfield, miss defender Ryan Bell (thigh), but player/manager Steve Bowey is back from injury.
Jarrow Roofing are at home to Newton Aycliffe without the banned Shaun Vipond and Liam Anderson.