CHESTER-LE-STREET will field at least two newcomers in tonight’s Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup Second Round tie against Whickham at Chester Moor Park.
Chairman Joe Burlison and manager Anth Smith have been busy on the transfer front in the last few days, signing striker Tom Vickers from Alnwick Town and James Anderson, who last season played for Ryton and Crawcrook Albion.
“Since he took over, Anth has been reshaping the squad in a bid to improve our position near the bottom of the STL Northern League Second Division.
“Our survival is our first objective but if we can get a win tonight, so much the better. I expect the two new lads to play and we could have another player in before kick-off.
“A deal has been agreed with his club and the player and we are just waiting for him to put pen to paper,” reported Burlison.
Meanwhile, two players have left the Cestrians. Joe Johnson has moved to Ryton while Jordan Fraser, who recently rejoined the club from Crook Town, has switched to South Shields.
Horden CW, who were without a fixture at the weekend, will move out of the relegation places in Division Two if they defeat Gillford Park at Welfare Park.
“It was a near-perfect day for us on Saturday. The results went our way. Easington Colliery, Whitehaven, Ryton and Seaham Red Star all lost and Chester-le-Street managed just one point.
“We’ve got to make the best of it, starting against the Cumbrians but it won’t be easy.
“They are on fire at present and a win would lift them into a promotion place, so there’s a lot at stake for both sides,” observed Colliers’ boss Brian Honour, who firmly believes the side would not be struggling had they fielded the present squad at the beginning of the season.
Although Honour will have a big squad on stand-by tonight, he cannot call upon Michael Joseph (hamstring), Jack Honour (hamstring) or Andrew Shingleton, who is struggling with a calf injury.
Sunderland RCA will move back into third position in the First Division if they defeat Guisborough Town at Meadow Park.
Manager Neil Hixon was delighted with his team’s second-half performance against Norton and Stockton Ancients on Saturday - even though it took an interval rollicking to kick-start the side.
He said: “I thought we were scrappy first half but we were outstanding in the second period and weren’t flattered by the 4-1 scoreline.
“More of the same will do very nicely for me tonight but I’m again a bit short on numbers and that’s why I am trying to bring in new faces.”
Richard Paxton, Ian Davison, Scott Richards and club captain Carl Beasley are all ruled out so Nixon has added Stephen Halliday and Wayne Henderson to the squad.
He is also hoping to sign centre half Chris Jewels from Hebburn Town. “We put in seven days notice for him and I am able to speak to the lad today.
“If he signs it will be too late for him to play tonight but hopefully I’ll have him on board for the weekend,” added Hixon.