Greg Swansbury is expected to make his long-awaited debut when Sunderland RCA line up against Ashington in Division One at Meadow Park tomorrow.
The former Washington and Ryhope CW centre-back is available after missing the last six weeks with an ankle injury, sustained in a first pre-season friendly.
Manager Martin Swales, anxious to make it three wins out of four, is hopeful that James Armstrong will come through a late fitness test. Definitely missing are midweek hat-trick hero Stephen Callen (holiday) and Jonny Wightman (cricket).
Matches against the Colliers are always tight affairs, but both teams try to play football so it should be an entertaining match.
Ashington boss Steve Harmison has defender Ben Christensen returning to the squad, but skipper Craig Scott, Ryan Bell and James Taylor are all ruled out, along with the unavailable Ben Harmison.
Seaham Red Star entertain Ryhope CW at the newly renamed Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium.
Returning from holiday after missing the opening two league games will be ex-Sunderland reserve-teamer Craig Lynch, who hit a magnificent goal in the season-opening FA Cup loss to Morpeth.
Assistant manager Chris McCabe is back from holiday and could feature on the park. Central defender David Scorer is also back, but midfielder Nicky Kane is sidelined.
Ryhope CW, looking for a first win of the season,miss Kyle Davis (holiday), Elliott Woods (knee) and James Ellis (hamstring). Midfielders Chris Trewick and Chris Bell both return to Gary Pearson’s squad.
Whitley Bay, with maximum points from two games, host ambitious South Shields, while Jarrow Roofing travel down to Newton Aycliffe for what could be a difficult fixture.
Roofing are in good spirits after beating Ryhope CW 4-1 on Tuesday and boss Richie McLoughlin said of tomorrow’s opponents:”They’re a really good side so I’m expecting a tough game.
“It’s really important we’re up for it and switched on.”
Kris Hughes is out for Roofing, but Nick Hays returns against a side featuring ex-Roofing striker John Campbell.
In Division Two, Easington Colliery, disappointed at losing out in the FA Cup, have their sights set on promotion.
Last season they ended sixth and assistant manager Craig Parkinson is confident his side can do even better this time around.
Their 100% start to the season, with three wins and eight goals scored, gives them confidence going into tomorrow’s visit to Darlington RA.
Durham City are at “home” to Crook Town at the Belle View Stadium, Consett, looking to make up for last night’s 4-0 home defeat to Team Northumbria.
Crook Town make the trip with no injury concerns and free of suspensions. City are hopeful of fielding their strongest line-up.
Two teams new to the league, Stockton Town and Blyth Town, clash.
The Teessiders, with four wins out of four, have virtually a full squad at his disposal.
Michael Arthur and Chris Dunwell return from suspension, Chris Stockton, who missed last Saturday’s win at Hebburn, is available and Dylan McAvoy is back in contention as he returns to training following a broken bone in his wrist.
However, Tom Coulthard is sidelined, giving boss Michael Dunwell a dilemma.
Esh Winning are at home to Whickham and Ryan Burton and James Huntley return from holiday, but Joe Kerry is away.
Hebburn Town, away to Thornaby tomorrow, are looking for a new manager after Scott Oliver dramatically resigned just two weeks into the new season.
Oliver, who had been in charge of the Hornets for more than three years, decided to step down in the aftermath of the 3-0 midweek defeat at home to Easington Colliery.
“The truth is that it’s down to me, really. I’ve stopped enjoying it,” said the ex-Birtley Town boss.
“It’s nothing to do with results. In 10 days, when lads return from holidays, we have a good squad but it’s affecting me too much now.
“Maybe seven years as a Northern League manager has drained me.”