Bottom two not an option for Brian Honour in the STL Northern League

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MANAGER Brian Honour is confident Horden CW can avoid finishing in the bottom two of the STL Northern League Second Division.

He said: “We stopped the rot at Morpeth Town in midweek, even though I only took 11 fit players.”

Horden are now nine points ahead of Brandon United going into tomorrow’s game with Chester-le-Street at Chester Moor Park, and Honour is ready to keep faith with the 13 players, including two who weren’t fully fit, although a further four will come into contention.

Honour had to play 16-year-olds Jack Honour and Dylan Billyard, while Lewis Edwards (17) also made his debut.

Lee Armes, Adam Burnicle and Stephen Oakley are available together with recent signing Yannick Aeyou, who is from Ivory Coast.

Chester-le-Street manager Stuart Sherwood, who is leaving at the end of the season, has Tony Healer suspended and will need to check the fitness of Kyle Bird, Lee Harrison, Kevin Dixon and Steven Halliday.

Seaham Red Star are just two points and one place above Horden before the visit of runaway leaders Newton Aycliffe, who are already promoted.

Chris McCabe is still banned but Gary Anderson is named. Mark Ewart will have a late fitness test.

In Division One, Paul Stoneman takes charge of West Allotment Celtic for the first time at Stokesley. The former South Shields player, who played professionally for Blackpool, Colchester United and Halifax Town, succeeds Tom Wade, who was sacked this week.

Five clubs are battling it out for the championship. Spennymoor Town are favourites to retain their crown and at home to Tow Law Town welcome the inclusion of Calvin Smith, but Craig Ruddy and Gavin Cogden are ruled out.

Shildon are out in front but only by a point from Moors, who have four games in hand.

Whitley Bay will be fighting for a place in the final of the FA Carlsberg Vase when the travel to Poole Town in the first leg of their semi-final tie.