THERE were further twists in the race for the three Second Division promotion places when leaders Seaham Red Star and fourth-top Norton and Stockton Ancients both lost in midweek.
Seaham, though, are odds on favourites to go up – needing just two points more – and manager Mark Collingwood will be looking for an immediate response at second-bottom Tow Law tomorrow.
Liam McBryde, Chris Scott, Sonny Andrews and Ryan Burton could be named as the Star aim to become the first side in the two divisions to reach 90 points.
Second-placed Washington and third-top Team Northumbria are without fixtures and could be overtaken by Norton and Stockton Ancients, who visit Northallerton Town.
After losing on Wednesday, Norton boss Andy Campbell is pleased to have John Seaton and Lee Farrington back after suspension.
Hebburn Town, with games in hand on the three sides above them, did their promotion hopes a power of good when they beat Norton on Wednesday and manager Scott Oliver will be hoping for a repeat performance against Whickham at The Glebe.
Ryhope CW have hit form recently with six wins and two draws from their last eight matches. Manager Gary Pearson reckons it’s a platform to build on for next season but his immediate objective is to finish as high as possible.
He said: “We had an up and down start to the season but things have now levelled off.
“It might sound daft, but I’m disappointed we haven’t racked up eight straight wins which we could well have done.”
The Wearsiders travel to another in-form side, Thornaby, still missing the injured Chris Trewick (ankle) but James Cook is fit and Pearson is hopeful that team captain Phil Hall will come through a fitness test.
Chester-le-Street face Darlington RA with Jack Honour and Rob Draper coming into the plans of boss Colin Wake, who misses Stephen Telford, Scott Heslop, Aaron Reynolds and Jake Stafford.