Hixon expects to unveil striker for Bishops clash

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SUNDERLAND RCA boss Neil Hixon is confident of having a new striker in his line-up for tonight’s Durham Challenge Cup second round tie against Bishop Auckland at Meadow Park.

Although he remains tight-lipped about his target, Hixon did confirm that the player is currently playing in the Evo Stik League and has considerable experience of the Ebac Northern League.

“With a bit of luck the transfer will go through in time and the lad will add firepower to our attack,” said Hixon, who misses four players.

Gary Shaw, who scored twice at the week-end, and Elliott Cutts are both cup-tied, having playing in an earlier round for Durham City while work commitments prevent Lee Owens and Nathan Monson from being involved.

A boost, though, is the return of player/assistant manager Carl Beasley and Wayne Henderson is also added to the squad.

Seaham Red Star manager Mark Collingwood is forced into changing a winning side for the visit ot Jarrow Roofing.

Captain Carl Thorp is unavailable but five players are pencilled in to play a part at some stage of the tie.

Tony Burnell, signed from South Shields, could make his full debut after being introduced as a substitute on Saturday and Red Star yesterday added San Randhowa to their squad, the player making the switch from neighbours Sunderland RCA.

Peter Bryson has completed a four-match ban and may be given some match practice while Kevin Gordon and Richie Goodman also come into the plans of Collingwood, who has steered Seaham into the top three in Division Two.

“I didn’t think for one minute last August that we would be four points clear in the promotion race going into the New Year,” declared secretary Kevin Turns, who is expecting a big gate for tonight’s attractive tie.

“Our first aim is to get back into the top flight as early as possible but it would also be nice to win some silverware.”

Durham City boss Adam Furness was disappointed with his team’s preformance and result when a recent mini-winning sequence was ended by Penrith on Saturday.

Ahead of the Citizens’ game at in-form Hebburn Town, he said: “We had been on a good run so to lose to Penrith, who are near the bottom, was disappointing. We need to bounce back, starting tonight but three players who were in the squad on Saturday are ruled out.”

Ian Ward, Ricky Fenwick and Peter Glen-Ravenhill are absentees but fortunately Paul Dixon can play.

A big gate is expected at the other tie when neighbours West Auckland Town and Spennymoor Town lock horns. Moors are second-top in Division One with West immediately below them.

In Division Two, Birtley Town will aim to take another step to safety following their win on Saturday, when they have home advantage over Tow Law Town but the Lawyers’ away form is good.

South Shields, battling against relegation from the first division, need three points at home to Ashington. The Mariners, with just three victories and a draw from 23 games, prop up the table with 10 points, trailing fourth-from-basement Penrith by 12 points.

Whitley Bay, meanwhile, will move to third top if they beat Celtic Nation in Cumbria.