It’s First Division versus Second when Seaham Red Star line up against Billingham Town at Seaham Town Park in tomorrow’s FA Carlsberg Vase first qualifying round tie.
Newly-promoted Red Star, with one win and two draws from six top-flight games, will take nothing for granted even though the Teessiders are fifth bottom in Division Two.
Manager Mark Collingwood welcomes the return from injuries of Paul Atkinson, Jamie Davis, Dan Reeves, Mark Ruddock and Peter Crawford, but Micheal Naylor, Craig Hutchinson and Jonathan Hodgson are on the injury list.
In addition, Michael Roberts and Aaron Wood will require their fitness assessed before Collingwood can name his side.
Barry Oliver, who took over as Billingham Town’s boss during the summer, has what he describes as “a new signing”.
Andrew Lambert announced his retirement at the end of last season and has been persuaded to return and he goes straight into the side which also includes former Red Star player Brad Staunch.
Oliver has fitness concerns for club captain Harry Taylor and Danny Maloney, but Joel Callender comes into contention.
Ryhope CW disappointed boss Gary Pearson with their 4-0 league defeat at Easington Colliery on Monday, but they have the chance to make amends by dismissing visitors Darlington RA in an all-Second Division clash.
Durham City also host Second Division opponents in Northallerton Town, who have moved into the top six on the back of some recent good performances.
City manager Ian Chandler is still trying to get the right balance in his side and could strengthen the squad – but it is unlikely he will bring anyone in before tomorrow.
He said: “I played for Whitley Bay when they won the Vase in 2002 and managed the side which was successful in winning the trophy for three consecutive seasons.
“We need to give Durham fans something to cheer. I know where we need to improve and hopefully if we get past tomorrow’s game we’ll be stronger for the next round.”
Chandler has Nicky Allan, Jake Fowler, Conor Okus and Gary Shaw back and pleased that Chris Wallace has shown no after-effects after resuming on Monday.
Crook entertain West Auckland, with both sides struggling for form.