Hixon fills the gap left by Barton’s departure to The Moors

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SUNDERLAND RCA manager Neil Hixon has wasted no time strengthening his squad following the departure of Gavin Barton to arch-rivals Spennymoor Town.

A deal has been agreed with Norton and Stockton Ancients for Sonny Andrews and Hixon is meeting the player during his team’s STL Northern League Division One game at Billingham Town.

Brian Stewart has been signed from Spennymoor Town and he will be involved at Bedford Terrace, providing his move is sanctioned by the league.

In addition, Hixon has signed youngsters Dale Spence and Brett Gillett, who have been playing for Farringdon Dolphin in the Wearside Combination.

“Losing Gavin Barton was a big blow but there was nothing the club could do. I’ve also got six players out either through suspension or injury, so I needed to bring in quality and numbers”, said Hixon.

Carl Beasley, Lee Owens, Joe Walton, Harrison Davies, Scott Richards and John Butler will miss tonight’s match as RCA defend their position at the top.

In Division Two, Washington could regain pole position if they defeat Thornaby on Teesside.

“We’ve made a canny start but we are not getting carried away,” said secretary Barry Spendley who reports that manager Ritchie Latimer could make changes.

Daniel Robinson and Simon Patterson may be available and Alan Oliver will also come into contention. John Lydon and Jake Leighton, though, are definitely ruled out.

Seaham Red Star take on Brandon United.

Anth Laidler is expected to start but Micky Patterson will need a fitness test.

Horden CW are at Chester-le-Street and boss Brian Honour cannot name Andrew Shingleton, Lee Armes or Stuart Brightwell.

The Cestrians have doubts for Luke Gilhespy and Glen Reay but Scott Wilson and Stephen Freyer are in the squad.

H South Shields have home advantage over Newcastle Benfield in the FA Cup Preliminary Round replay while in the other tie, Hebburn Town travel to Whitehaven.