Durham City ready for the Sunderland RCA challenge

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AFTER winning their last six games which has propelled them to third top in the Evo-Stik League First Division North, Durham City tonight turn their attentions to the Durham Challenge Cup when they host Sunderland RCA.

And although the Wearsiders have lost their last three matches, City boss Dickie Ord insists his side will take nothing for granted.

He said: “I haven’t decided how to tackle the game and might give one or two lads, who have travelled up and down the country without being involved, a run-out but this is not to say I’m taking RCA lightly.

“They were going great guns until a week ago and will be very keen to get back to winning form.

“It’s a local derby so there should be a decent crowd and a good atmosphere.”

Ord will decide whether to bring back Dan Madden who, despite being ineligible, travelled with the squad to Mossley on Saturday. David Dowson though is struggling with an injury.

Manager Neil Hixon is puzzled by his team’s sudden lack of form which has seen them toppled from the top of the STL Northern League First Division and ousted from the FA Carlsberg Vase.

“Our first-half performances in the last four games have been rubbish but we’ve looked a different team in the second 45 minutes.

“Teams have gone in at half time thinking they were in with a chance and in the last three have held on for victories.

“Another problem is that our forwards, who were converting just about every opportunity, are now hitting brick walls,” observed Hixon, who has agreed deals to bring in two players this week.

Ryhope CW’s Neil Atkinson has been targeted to take over from goalkeeper Gary Hoggeth, who will be out for some time with a double hernia, while a deal has been agreed with Newcastle Benfield for Chris Feasey.

Should the transfers be completed today neither player will be eligible for tonight’s game and debutant Kyle Donaldson will be in goal.

Wearside League outfit Willington face a formidable task at Dunston UTS, who have a three points lead in the STL Northern League First Division.

Graeme Lazenby, Wayne Dobinson, Gareth Matthews and Reece Marshall are injured and Aiden Bowes is ineligible because he has not been signed for seven days.

Paul Davison could make his comeback and Stephen Harrison, who has missed the last two games, is definitely included.

Dunston miss goalkeeper Liam Connell (knee) and Stephen Goddard who is working but Chris Swailes comes into the plans of manager Billy Irwin.

Whitley Bay will leap-frog Sunderland RCA into third place in the STL Northern League if they defeat Tow Law Town whose manager Ian Davison is confidently looking ahead to the game at Hillheads after the Lawyers gained a morale-boosting victory over RCA on Saturday.