Northern League: Swales' FA Vase heroes back to earth for '˜tough' Benfield rematch
FA Vase heroes Sunderland RCA travel to Newcastle Benfield for a mid-table First Division tomorrow.
Manager Martin Swales, proud of his men in last week’s success at AFC Mansfield as they reached the last 16 of the Vase, said: “Ross Preston and Adam McGuinness are back after being cup-tied last week for the Vase game.
“Goalkeeper Neal Bussey is back after being injured, but Liam McBryde is out injured and Kevin Gordon is away on holiday.
“It’s a big game and we have already played Benfield at home, and they’re the best side we’ve played this season. They’re strong and direct, and it will be a tough game at their place.”
West Auckland entertain Jarrow Roofing, with both clubs fighting against relegation.
Roofing are without midfielder Paul Gardiner, who is away, but otherwise they are at full strength.
Dennis Knight is set to make his debut after missing last week’s win over Marske United due to suspension.
Richie McLoughlin’s men are unbeaten in the league since November 26 but he warned his side: “The worst thing we can do is head over to West Auckland and just expect to get the win.
“We need to fight for the points. They are a very good side, physical, and they have just brought in four new players, so it just shows that they are strengthening all over the pitch.
“We need to show the same characteristics that we showed at Marske if we are to come away with anything: teamwork, taking care when in possession and doing the simple things well.”
Easington Colliery, who ended their six-match winless run with a 6-3 success at Thornaby last weekend, will be favourites at home to lowly Ryton & Crawcrook Albion in Division Two.
Albion are just one point above the relegation trapdoor.
Albion’s Jordan Moore takes charge for the last time as they try to get their season back on track, in time for the new manager taking over.
Sam Moore is available following suspension, but Andrew Farrey and Mark McMeekin are still suspended. Albion hope to have at least one new signing in place for the trip.
Lowly Willington are eager to move up the table ahead of their visit to Bedlington Terriers.
Secretary Geoff Siddle said: “Tom Lazonby is out injured with a dislocated shoulder and we will be missing Chris Storey and James Seymour, who are both away for the weekend.
“It will be a difficult game, Bedlington Terriers are doing quite well, but, as usual, we will go out and do our best.”
Crook Town, only out of the bottom two on goal difference, have a fully fit squad to choose from when they travel to leaders Stockton Town, who have a doubt over Max Craggs (back problem). With Tom Coulthard away, Stockton boss Michael Dunwell will have to shuffle his squad for this game.
Brandon United journey to Thornaby and both teams will be looking for points, to get away from the bottom end of the table.
Durham City, in fourth position, entertain 10th-top Whickham, while Tow Law Town travel to Alnwick Town for a mid-table clash.
Billingham Town, in fifth position, are 11 points away from pole position with three games in hand.
They host Heaton Stannington and will look to put last week’s FA Vase exit behind them.
Secretary Peter Martin said: “We are missing Jamie Davis and Mark Dixon, who are both banned, and a late fitness test will be given to Steve Oakley. Matthew Osmond will be back in the first team after being cup tied for the Vase last week.
“We’re hoping to get Jack Turnbull back from Hartlepool on loan, but talks are on-going for that.
“It will be a tough game against Heaton Stannington and we have a tough month coming up, when we have Hebburn, Blyth and Stockton to play.”
Billingham Synthonia, who are third and eight points behind leaders Stockton Town with a game in hand, have no fixture this weekend.