Wearside League: West End out to maintain momentum with league success ahead of County Trophy final
Sunderland West End are looking to keep up the momentum tomorrow, ahead of Good Friday's Durham County Trophy final.
The Ford Quarry men host Annfield Plain (2pm) in the league in their last match before tackling Leam Rangers at Eppleton in next Friday’s final (11am kick-off).
West End kept the pressure on the four teams above them with a 2-0 success at Harton & Westoe CW on Wednesday evening.
There Wearsiders are five points behind fourth-top Boldon CA but have three games in hand, and they have five more games to play than table-toppers Hebburn Town Reserves, who are 18 points better off.
West End manager Anthony Nelson said: “They will give us a hard game, but we have a full squad available for the match, with both Keiron Martin and Barry Turton returning from work commitments.
“We have a lot of games to play, including two cup finals and a semi-final, but the squad is deep at present and I am looking forward to the match.”
Silksworth CW, boosted by four points from their last two games, travel to meet Hartlepool, who are in 10th place, one point behind the Wearsiders.
Silksworth manager Andrew Stobbart said: “We are still looking to build on our performances from recent games, although they have been greatly improved.
“It was more of a gritty win against a good Wolviston side last time out, rather than us being at our best on the ball.
“We tried a few different things in that match and started some of our newer signings and, looking at the congested fixture list, the squad rotation could be a must.”
As for team news, Stobbart added: “The squad will be missing forward Nathan Renton due to work commitments.
“Midfielder James Cook also misses out for the same reason. However, we welcome back defender Josh Perry and midfielder Chris Thompson for the trip.”
Pool are desperate to play this week, after four blank Saturdays and with the Total Sport Alan Hood Charity Cup final coming up against Hebburn Town Reserves on Easter Monday.
The Hartlepool squad trained on a local college 3G pitch last Saturday in dreadful conditions, but they now need game time. Apart from any late work call-offs, they expect to have a strong squad available.
Boldon CA, in fourth place, travel west to meet Cumbrian outfit Windscale.
Manager Paul Mossa has his players ready for the long drive, but goalkeeper Alan Greenan is still out with an ankle problem.
Mossa hopes that the weather holds as his team have not played in five weeks and the run of three games a week coming up is sure to take its toll.
Centre-backs Jonny Gage and Aaron Burn are both fully fit and are looking forward to playing.
Windscale midfielder and captain Ray Sempill is the hosts’ major doubt, as he waits for results of his kidney scan, following an injury he sustained in a collision with his own goalkeeper in his last game.
South Shields Reserves welcome Redcar Athletic to Harton and manager Leepaul Scroggins hopes that the weather will not intervene yet again, as they hope to play their first game in almost a month.
Scroggins hopes that his side will return in good spirits following the break as they face one of the league’s top sides.
Shields will be without young keeper Jack Ramage, as he is in the Durham County squad.
Redcar defender David Abel must think his four-match suspension is never going to end, as no games have been played since it came into effect, so he therefore will not be travelling with the squad.
Chris Bivens, Luke Woodall and Mitchell Morris are available and strikers Adam Preston, Jack Simpson and Daniel Drazdauskas are under pressure to perform, with a healthy squad available.
Bottom club Coxhoe Athletic travel to third-bottom Stokesley SC, who are four points better off but have played three more matches.
Coxhoe secretary Paul Charlton said: “Philip Hayes is injured, alongside Jack Elcoat and Jamie Chappell, who are both unavailable.
“Philip Best is doubtful and therefore Cameron Wilson is added to the squad.”
Wolviston, sitting in sixth place and on course for easily their best finish since they were fourth in 2007/08, entertain Harton and Westoe CW.
The Metcalfe Park men have midfielder Daon Yrus Kehi returning, after missing the last two games with an ankle injury.
His brother and fellow midfielder Dimitri retains his place in the team, after a good return at Silksworth last Wednesday.
Utility player Jae Wilson will have a pre-match test on his knee, which he injured at training last week.
Leam Rangers, building up to Good Friday’s Durham County Trophy final against Sunderland West End, are at home to second-placed Cleator Moor Celtic.
Elsewhere, seventh-placed Darlington Reserves host Richmond Town, who are four points and one place worse off, but with six games in hand.