Wearside League: Silksworth target Easter triumph against Darlington Reserves
Silksworth CW boss Andrew Stobbart is looking to get back to winning ways tomorrow, at home to Darlington Reserves.
The ninth-placed Wearsiders drew 1-1 at Hartlepool last week, but are on a three-game unbeaten league run going back to February 10.
Silksworth are just five points behind seventh-placed Darlo, with five games in hand.
Stobbart said: “We have put in impressive performances in the last three games, but have managed to only win once, and draw the other two.
“Improvements have been made at both ends of the pitch, in terms of taking our chances and keeping clean sheets, and we have been working on that in training.
“Darlington will be a tough encounter, but as always we will be going out there to take the three points.”
Silksworth will almost be back to full strength, but striker Nathan Renton misses out due to work and midfielder Michael McVay is doubtful.
Jonathan Hodgson returns from a suspension and will come into contention for a midfield berth.
Bottom club Coxhoe Athletic travel to third-top Redcar Athletic without unavailable pair Philip Best and Russell Bradley, while Philip Hayes is doubtful.
On the plus side, Stephen Clifford and Jack Elcoat come back into their squad.
Redcar are thrilled to have striker Andy Jennings back on board.
Jennings, who has scored more than 100 goals for Redcar in the past two seasons, quickly got back to business when netting twice in the first half against South Shields Reserves last week.
Goalkeeper Will Lawrence, Bryan Stewart, Anthony Jones, Jordan Lowrie and Luke Woodall, who were all unavailable last week, could return
Wolviston face a daunting trip to leaders Cleator Moor Celtic without goalkeeper Chris Davidson, defenders Andrew McGirr, Adam Johnston and Josh Chambers, as well as midfielder Jae Wilson.
Manager Steve Cook is struggling to take a squad of players through to do the game justice, but is boosted by the return of leading scorer Junior Masandi and fellow striker Tony Johnson.
Annfield Plain host Richmond Town at Derwent Park.
The Dalesmen will be without Chris Pattison because of work commitments.
Michael Layfield, still recovering from a foot injury, is now able to run but has some discomfort when kicking a ball, so is expected to be out for another two weeks.
Richmond manager Jonathan Kellett does, however, have Stephen Butterworth to call upon as a replacement, having re-signed for the club last week.
Harton and Westoe CW entertain second-bottom Stokesley SC and go into the game after a couple of disappointing results.
But the South Tynesiders are determined to put those losses behind them.
Secretary Kevin Gibson said: “The squad is a little depleted due to various reasons.
“Jordan and Cory Fenwick are away, as are defenders Patrick Jackson and Andrew Burdon.
“Injuries mean that Ben Cooper, Chris Foster, Dan Hebden, Brodie Simpson, as well as new signing Ethan Anderson, all miss the game.
“On a positive note, Andy Hill returns unexpectedly and William Cook is also available.
“Goalkeeper David Haynes is doubtful after having an excellent game at Wolviston, despite conceding three goals, but he will be a huge part of this club over the next few years.”
The first domestic cup final of the season is on Monday, when Hebburn Town Reserves visit Hartlepool’s Grayfield Enclosure home (noon kick-off), with the Total Sport Alan Hood Charity Cup up for grabs.
Hebburn manager Kevin Bolam said: “We are really looking forward to it, but it will be a tough game.
“This will be the first opportunity for our club to take some silverware.
“We haven’t managed to take any points off Hartlepool in the Wearside League, but, fingers crossed, we can beat them on Easter Monday.
“We will have a full squad to choose from, apart from Dylan Nesbitt who is suspended and Andy Hunter who is cup-tied.”
Hartlepool secretary John Ward said: “We started the competition with a 1-0 win over Harton & Westoe, then had an excellent 2-1 win at Redcar Athletic before defeating Boldon CA in the semi -final 3-1, after coming from behind with goals by Michael Snowdon, Jamie Tumilty and Andy Blackburn.
“Our young team have played some excellent football at times this season, but are only in mid-table.
“Hebburn’s young team in their first season have also excelled, managed by Kevin Bolam who moved from South Shields at the end of last season and took most of the team with him.
“However, our blend of youth and experience and pace in the team, with Jamie Tumilty bagging 29 in all games, with the returning Paul Moss in central defence has made a huge difference.”
Pool manager Terry Hill said: “It’s a massive game for the club as we chase our first Wearside League trophy.
“If I am honest, we have under achieved. 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, however, if we bring our game together we have an excellent chance in what should be excellent advertisement for non-league football.”