Wearside League: Silksworth CW can't wait for Monday's Shipowners' Cup final derby against Sunderland West End
Silksworth CW and Sunderland West End cannot wait for Monday's TWR Shipowners' Charity Cup final.
Silksworth, who rose to sixth place in the table in midweek, have a weekend off to prepare for their biggest game of the season, on home turf at Silksworth Welfare Park (11am kick-off).
Silksworth secretary Michael Curtis said: “The cup final is a big day for both teams. We are really looking forward to it and it should be a fantastic game.
“Hopefully there will be a big crowd to watch it.”
Curtis added: “We have very little in the way of injuries going into the game, because of the squad rotation needed to get through the fixtures that have been coming thick and fast in recent weeks.
“A lot of our players have put themselves in contention and difficult choices will have to be made as to who is included in the squad, never mind the starting 11.
“We have played Monday and Wednesday this week with much changed teams and have won both in what we consider very tight games.”
Silksworth manager Andrew Stobbart said: “We are really pleased with the way the squad in its entirety has performed across April and early May, although we haven’t always got the results we have felt we deserved.
“There has been a competitive edge and a stubbornness not to get beat, which we have been really pleased with.
“We go into the cup final on Monday as underdogs against a very strong Sunderland West End side, but I am sure the lads are well up for the occasion.”
West End, who suffered an agonising defeat in the Durham County Trophy final in March, are desperate for silverware too.
Joint manager Anthony Nelson said: “I have been resting a lot of my players in anticipation of the final and we are carrying a lot of injuries, but the team I put out will be raring to go and we are all looking forward to the game.”
The big game tomorrow sees Hebburn Town Reserves travel to Hartlepool in the final of the Total Sport Alan Hood Charity Cup.
It is a first domestic final for Hartlepool since joining the league, and they have home advantage at Grayfields Enclosure.
Hebburn manager Kevin Bolam said: “Obviously we know it is going to be a tough game, it is as their home ground and we know they are a good side.
“We’ve played them twice this season, we’ve won one and they’ve won one, so we are really looking forward to the game.
“We are crippled with injuries at the moment, so we are just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best outcome.”
Hartlepool are relishing the occasion.
Manager Terry Hill said: “It’s a massive game for the club, as we chase our first Wearside League trophy .
“We have a fantastic young team and the effort from them this season has been great.
“We have played some excellent stuff at times this season, but have been inconsistent and if we bring our game together we have an excellent chance in what should be an excellent advertisement for non-league football.”
Jamie Tumilty, with 44 goals this season, will be the big danger to Hebburn.
Pool have Paul Moss back in central defence, while Sam Cook and Kieron Campbell are fit to stake their claims, alongside skipper Matty Gardner, who has missed the last six games with a foot injury.
There are only four league games tomorrow.
Sunderland West End are away at Annfield Plain and manager Anthony Nelson said: “We will be resting a few players, alongside a growing injury list before the cup final on Monday, but Lee Cresswell will come in for only his second game of the season.”
Boldon CA travel to Wolviston in the penultimate Saturday match for outgoing manager Paul Mossa.
Alan Greenan is out with a broken finger, so Mossa is trying to find a keeper to cover.
Wolviston have goalkeeper Chris Davidson and defender Andrew McGirr returning from suspension.
But central defender Adam Johnston and striker Steve Pickard are out injured.
Utility player Farma Jatta (knee) will be given a fitness test.
The game of the day is crucial at the top of the table, with leaders Cleator Moor Celtic welcoming second-top Redcar Athletic.
It could well decide the destination of the championship trophy.
The visiting Seasiders, three points behind with a game in hand, have injury problems. Doubts surround David Abel, Anthony Jones, Chris Bivens, Jordan Kirk and Adam Preston, while Sam Webster is suspended.
Leam Rangers entertain Richmond Town at the Hilltop Ground.