Wearside League: Silksworth CW fired up for big kick-off as boss Stobbart looks to build on impressive pre-season form
Silksworth CW are aiming to hit the ground running following a highly-successful pre-season.
The Colliers won all five friendlies against opponents from at least the same level as themselves and, significantly, they conceded just one goal.
“It could not have been better and now I’m looking to build on the momentum, starting in tomorrow’s opener at home to Hartlepool,” declared manager Andrew Stobbart.
“It’s important we carry on from the friendlies and drive forward in the league.”
Jonny Williamson, Paul Grainger and Carl Burns have been added to last season’s squad, but three players are unable to play tomorrow. Michael Melmore is away, while injuries rule out Martin Metcalfe and Dan Lowerson.
Hartlepool are likely to prove tough opponents. They enjoyed their best ever season last time, finishing fifth when they posted their highest points total.
Newcomers include Paul Moss and Kieron Campbell from Horden CW, together with brothers Cameron and Euan Gordon and Josh Noble.
A big boost is the return, following a 30-month lay-off, of Dale Campion, who came off the bench and scored in the friendly against Jarrow Roofing.
Terry Wilkinson, though, has decided not to play because he is being troubled with ankle problems.
Sunderland West End start against Boldon CA at Ford Quarry (2.30pm kick-off) with a new management team in charge.
Anth Nelson stood down at the end of last season and is replaced by Barry Cook and George McCain. They cannot start with a full-strength side, however, since Jordan Crook is on holiday and Lee Smith injured.
Boldon CA miss last season’s top scorer, Adam Bell, who is away, but manager Paul Mossa adds new signings goalkeeper Brett Wilson, Shaun Carroll and David Bulman to his team sheet.
Mossa is looking to improve on last term’s 10th-place finish but anticipates a difficult opening to the campaign, saying: “Our first five games are against teams that ended in the top half of the table, even so I’m optimistic we can make a decent start.”
Seaham Red Star Reserves visit Leam Rangers with several newcomers in the squad.
The management team of Kevin Dixon, Callum Milne and Darren Liddle have recruited Anthony Watson, Andrew Johnson, Brennan Ball, Niall Salmon, Andy Gordon and Peter Crawford.
Also in the fold are Mark Vasey, Paul-Simon Taylor and Martin Thompson, who gained success playing for champions Oddies in the Durham Alliance Combination League last term.
Cricket commitments keep out Watson, Gordon and Kristian Wilkinson at Leam, who are likely to hand a debut to former Ashbrooke Belford House player Michael Young.
Also in contention are Anthony Brewis and Gordon Hutchinson, who missed last season with a cruciate injury. Striker Anth Huddart is ruled out as he begins a three-match ban.
Coxhoe Athletic – who were Spennymoor Town Reserves last season – have reverted to their original name. They open at home to newcomers South Shields Reserves and manager Paul Cooper reports that his only absentees are Chris Foster and Neil Charlton.
Mariners boss Kevin Bolam is looking forward to the challenge of playing in new surroundings.
“I think the lads will give a good account of themselves. We’ll have a strong squad on duty at Coxhoe, where we will be looking to get off to a flier,” said Bolam.
Jarrow entertain Wolviston at Perth Green, with Josh Allen, Peter Henderson, Jak Wells, David Fittis and Rossi McCauly added to the squad, but Kia Elliott, Arran Kah and Darren Morton are sidelined.
Wolviston struggled for most of last season and have added experience at the back by bringing in Michael Rainsley, who has played in the Northern League.
Chris Davidson has returned to Metcalfe Park following a spell with Horden CW, while young midfielders Robbie Grafton and Andy McCreesh also come into the reckoning for the opening day fixture.
A boost is the news that Wayne Flanagan is back following a five-year absence while working in the south.
Whitehaven left the league at the annual meeting to be replaced by another Cumbrian side, Windscale, who begin at Annfield Plain.
Derwent Park was once a hotbed for local football when the side played against the reserve teams of Sunderland and Newcastle United in the old North Eastern League, but those days are now just a distant memory.
Plain, though, are determined to improve on last season’s disappointing form.
Horden CW, too, could command big crowds but nowadays they are having to play their “home” fixtures at Hartlepool’s Grayfields Enclosure. Their opener is at home to Ashbrooke Belford House, who will be hoping to improve on last season’s 10th-place finish.
Redcar Athletic could be the team to watch in the race for honours. Once again, they have Andy Jennings and Michael Woodhouse, who last season scored nearly 90 goals between them, spearheading the attack.
The Seasiders start at home to Prudhoe Town, where stalwart Chris Lowther is again at the helm.