Northern League: Boss Chandler back to help stop the rot for City

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Durham City manager Ian Chandler is back – and his immediate task is to avert a third consecutive defeat.

Chandler missed the first two games and was disappointed with last week’s performance against Thackley which resulted in his side’s exit from the FA Cup.

Then on Wednesday City went down to Morpeth Town by the odd goal in three.

“We are at Ashington tomorrow who haven’t made the best of starts, but they won at Albion Sports in midweek which will have lifted their confidence,” said Chandler..

“They are always a good strong team and it could well be tricky for us.”

Chandler was busy during the summer bringing in several players.

James Fairley (Washington), Craig Lynch (Blyth Spartans), Jake Fowler (West Auckland), Dan Dillon and Jonny Ball (Billingham Synthonia), Gary Shaw (Seaham Red Star) and Tom Flynn (Whitley Bay) are the newcomers.

So too is Connor Okus who played youth football for Charlton Athletic and West Ham United.

Chandler added: “Connor is now living in the North East and I was delighted to get him on board. We really re-vamped the squad during the closed season and I’m confident we’ll soon see the results on the field.”

One definite absentee at Ashington is Dan Dillon but James Fairley and Chris Wallace are both expected to play.

Ashington boss Steve Harmison reports that James Taylor, Gareth Williams and Kyle Oliver are all out with injuries and doubt surrounds the availability of Ben Christensen.

Jarrow Roofing boss Ritchie McLoughlin welcomes the availability of Corey Barnes and Michael Riley, but Dan Kirkup is given only a 50-50 chance of playing.

Washington line up with FA Carlsberg Vase winners North Shields at the Darren Persson Stadium and manger Steven Hutchinson could not be happier.

“We took four points from difficult games with Ashington and Morpeth Town, who are the current leaders and then won at AFC Darwen in the cup last week.

“It will not be easy against the Robins but we’ve set our stall out and the lads are brimming with confidence following the opening matches” enthused Hutchinson.

The Mechanics cannot call up Aaron Croft or Chris Winn and Hutchinson may involve new signings Nathan Burton and Craig Hennis at some stage.

Seaham Red Star are still finding their feet in the top flight and at home to Newton Aycliffe manager Mark Collingwood reckons he will be down to the bare bones.

Sonny Andrews, Darren Reay and David Scorer are all absent.

“I could name youngsters Kieran Galbraith and Ryan Bolam for their first outings. I reckon Aycliffe could finish in the top four so it’s likely to be a difficult afternoon.

Norton and Stockton Ancients, who parted company with manager Adam Rundle after only three games, have appointed Dean Brown with Mark Fanning his assistant.

The pair will be in charge at champions Marske United who managed just a single point from their first two games

Morpeth Town moved to the top of the table for the first time in several years when they won in midweek and they’ll fancy their chances at West Auckland who, surprisingly prop up the table.

In Division Two, Chester-le-Street are at Brandon United minus injured trio Lee Mole, Jake Stafford and Aaron Reynolds.

Ryhope CW host Thornaby boosted by the news that Leon Ryan, Stephen Oakley, Chris Trewick and James Cook can play. Richard Hodgson, though, is not available while Stephen Francis and Josh Home Jackson will need their fitness assessed before boss Gary Pearson can finalise his squad.