Wearside League: High-flying Silksworth wary of bottom-of-the-table visitors
Silksworth CW entertain rejuvenated Harton and Westoe CW tomorrow as they look to consolidate fourth place in the table (2pm).
Though Harton remain bottom of the table, they have improved in recent months and pushed Silksworth hard before losing 2-1 in the first match of the new year.
Last week, they secured a fine Monkwearmouth Cup victory away to Cleator Moor Celtic.
Silksworth secretary David Steele said: “When we played them just two weeks ago they looked nothing like a team struggling at the bottom and, to be fair, probably the best Harton team for a while and their result at Cleator Moor shows that.”
Manager Andy Stobbart has virtually a full squad available and gave them all a run-out in the midweek friendly against Easington, in which they lost 3-2.
He said: “The standard between the top of the Wearside League and Northern League Second Division isn’t too much of a gap that showed on the night.”
The only casualty is David Stevens, who is still out long-term, while Andrew Donnelly is still a doubt.
Harton manager David Crumbie was obviously delighted with the cup victory at Cleator Moor and was proud of the fight and togetherness of a relatively new squad of players.
Official Kevin Gibson said: “His main goal is to get Harton off the bottom of the league as soon as possible and Saturday gone may prove to be the confidence boost required to kick-start the season.”
Harton will be without experienced midfielder Nick Pain due to work commitments, while midfielder Dominic Solman is away.
Several players return. Wess Brown returns from suspension, alongside defenders Steven Usher and Gavin Strong. Midfielders Cory Fenwick, Jordan Fenwick, Dan Keith and Frank Ofoezie also return and there will be two new signings available to bolster the squad.
Ashbrooke Belford House are on their travels to North Yorkshire to play Stokesley SC and are missing Lee Andrews (hamstring), while Michael Jacob and Stephen Bogie are on holiday.
However, Callum Hope returns after his trial with Tranmere Rovers and new signing Andrew Morris is in the squad alongside Josh Farquhar, with Kieron Stokoe facing a late fitness test.
Sunderland West End journey to Leam Rangers.
West End are missing Aiden King and Layton Chapman, but otherwise have a full squad to choose from.
Manager Barry Cook said: “We know it’s going to be a physical game against a good Leam Rangers team, but hopefully we will be looking to get the three points.”
Leam welcome back Ryan Moor and Anthony Brewis following injury and illness respectively.
Seaham Red Star Reserves, who were due to visit Windscale, cannot raise a team this weekend.
The management team of Kevin Dixon and Callum Milne stood down on Monday.
Windscale captain James Dolan has initiated extra training sessions with the support of the players, after a review of several winnable games that were lost due to tiredness in the last quarter.
Speaking after the loss to Darlington 1883 Reserves last weekend, Dolan said: “Late withdrawals as a cause for concern and is planning on a team bonding session in the immediate future.”
Coxhoe Athletic are at home to Cleator Moor Celtic and have a strong squad to choose from.
But Kyle Morris is doubtful with a hamstring injury and Neil Charlton is still unavailable with a long-term back injury.
Cleator Moor have Darren Little suspended, but manager Dene White hopes to have Craig Devine back after missing last Saturday’s defeat. New signing Jonathan Donat could make his first start, while Leigh Dunn is back from holiday.
South Shields Reserves miss Harry Simpson for their home clash with Wolviston.
Secretary Philip Reay said: “Harry should have served the last of a three-game suspension last week, but, with games called of,f he’s still got a game to go.
“Other than Harry, manager Kevin Bolam will have a strong squad to select from. The Reserves will come up against a registered first-team player in goalkeeper Christopher Davidson, as he is registered for our first team, so that will be interesting.”
“The Reserves have had a run of poor results and will be hoping to return to winning ways against Wolviston. They are second from the bottom of the league but can’t be taken lightl – they have got some decent players and we are expecting a good game and looking for the three points.”
The match of the day sees third-top Redcar Athletic entertaining leaders Jarrow.
Jarrow miss Alex Bone and Max Kirkham, while Aaron Kah is doubtful.
Boss Dave Bell said: “Redcar are an exceptional side who have consistently challenged for the league over recent seasons.
“They have many strengths, have an excellent home record and a significantly better goal difference than we have. They do not concede many goals and have a very good ‘goals for’ record.
“This game represents a massive challenge for us. We have trained well this week in preparation for the game and we go there knowing that we have to be at our very best to get anything out of the game.
“Anything less than that and we know that Redcar have many strengths to punish us. We want to pick up where we left off in the last game we played against Darlington Reserves where our performance was excellent. We are all looking forward to this game, and the significant challenge it poses for us.”
Redcar captain Lance Skelton should be back from a niggling ankle injury.
Manager Steve Connolly has a near-full squad to choose from. He said: “We’re really looking forward to the game. To have two full weeks off over Christmas, followed by the Seaham Red Star Reserves game called off last week, everyone is keen to get back into a rhythm.
“Given Jarrow’s strong position and impressive results so far this season, we know we’re in for a really tough game.”
Sixth-placed Hartlepool entertain Annfield Plain and expect to have the same squad available, with no new injuries to report.
Boldon CA have a tough match away to title contenders Richmond Town in the semi-final of the Total Sport Alan Hood Charity Cup (1.30pm).
Boldon manager Paul Mossa has Dan Nolan, Adam Drysdale and Jonny Gage available, after all three were unavailable for last weekend’s postponed match.
The Dalesmen have defender Michael Gunnell unavailable due to a knee injury, but other than that they will have a full squad of 25 to choose from.