Northern League: Two back to boost Easington for Chester-le-Street clash
Easington Colliery welcome Chester-le-Street in an attractive mid-table Second Division match tomorrow (3pm).
Shaun Smith and Chris Freeman are expected to miss out due to work commitments for the Colliers.
Club captain Chris Pearson should be involved, alongside returning pair Ian Redman and James Talbot.
The Cestrians, seven points behind 11th-placed Easington with three games in hand, have Lee Mole rated doubtful due to work commitments, while Danny Hepplewhite and Danny Naylor will take late fitness tests and Callum Greaves definitely misses out.
Chester manager Colin Wake said: “Easington are one of the better footballing sides that we have played this year, so we expect another good game.
“We are hoping to add Scott Robson to the squad, after his recent transfer from Morpeth, but he signed with a little niggle in his knee.”
Durham City entertain Jarrow at Willington and manager Ollie Hotchkiss said: “Steve Malloy is still unavailable through injury and Phil Hayes is looking doubtful, due to a hamstring injury.
“Alex Dobinson and Gary Thompson are back in contention for this week’s game.”
Hotchkiss added: “I can’t name any names yet, but we will hopefully have a new signing too.
“We know it will be a difficult game, as Jarrow are a good side. We played well last Tuesday and deserved the win really, but managed to come away with just one point.
“Hopefully we can get all three points on Saturday.”
Jarrow manager Dave Bell misses Dean Martin (unavailable), Peter Kane (injured) and Jordon Mellish (suspended) but has added Aidan McGee and Daryll Donnelly to the squad.
Bell said: “They will add experience and quality to our squad. Daryll is not quite ready to take part in games, but is well in his way to recovering from injury and will play a major part in our run in. Aidan joins the squad this weekend.”
Hebburn Town, in fourth place, travel to Bedlington Terriers who are fighting for their lives down at the wrong end of the table, albeit with a few games in hand over their rivals.
Tow Law Town, down to seventh, host fifth-placed Thornaby in an intriguing game at the Ironworks Road ground.
The Lawyers have gone off the boil recently, with only two wins in their last six games, while their visitors have won five of their last six, including four on the road.
Brandon United host Billingham Town, with manager Barry Ross saying: “Craig Ruddy will be doubtful for Saturday’s game after injury in the draw with Durham City in midweek. Jack Errington returns to the squad and, other than that, we should be at full strength.”
Crook Town, who were leading Thornaby in midweek when the game was abandoned due to a floodlight failure, have a tough home clash against second-top Northallerton.
Forward Wayne Gredziak is available, after recovering from injury picked up in his first game against Willington. Calum Johnston should return to bolster the midfield after suffering a badly sprained ankle six weeks ago, but Daniel Quine is missing due to holidays.
Crook manager Chris Lax said: “It will be a tough game against promotion hopefuls Northallerton, but we are hoping to reproduce our performance last time at home against Tow Law, where we won 2-1.”
Willington, ninth and 15 points adrift of the promotion spots after successive defeats, are at Darlington RA, who boosted their survival bid with a fine 2-1 win at Billingham Town last weekend.
Elsewhere, Blyth host bottom club Alnwick Town at Ashington and Heaton Stannington welcome Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.
Tonight, mid-table Esh Winning have a tough task at third-top Whickham.
Esh manager Tony Boakes said: “We have Nick Marley suspended and Scott Arnott, Paul Oxley and Mathew Allison are unavailable.
“However, new re-signing from Crook, Sean Johnson will be in the squad. We are expecting a very hard game from Whickham, who are pushing for promotion, but we will be looking to reverse the hammering we got earlier in the season.”
Whickham are level on 60 points with leaders Blyth and Northallerton. Blyth are top with the best goal difference, while Northallerton are ahead of Whickham only on goals scored.