Northern League: Skipper Hall out as Ryhope CW eye climb to second spot

Powerful Ryhope CW striker Conor Winter
Powerful Ryhope CW striker Conor Winter
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Ryhope CW have the chance to leapfrog Chester-le-Street into second place in tomorrow’s crucial Second Division fixture at Whickham.

Ryhope have won three games on the trot in the league and can overtake the Cestrians, who are on FA Vase duty.

But manager Gary Pearson and assistant Stu Gooden must do without unavailable club captain Phil Hall, while long-term injury victims Martin Metcalfe and Craig Hughes remain on the sidelines.

Fortunately, Chris Trewick, Stephen Oakley, Lee Chapman, Elliott Woods and experienced centre-back Leon Ryan are all available for the trip to the Glebe.

The lively strike pairing of Conor Winter and Damien Stevens is sure to give Whickham problems.

Easington Colliery can move level on points with Chester-le-Street if they win what is sure to be a hard-fought battle at Thornaby, while Tow Law Town have the potential of rising as high as sixth place if they win away to lowly Esh Winning.

Crook Town visit sixth-top Billingham Synthonia, Willington head to Northallerton, Brandon United, averaging more than two goals a game, face a difficult test at mid-table rivals Heaton Stannington and Birtley Town welcome Billingham Town.

Only three games go ahead in the First Division, and Seaham Red Star will look out for two of the results.

Mark Collingwood’s side are sixth-bottom, just four points ahead of Norton and Stockton Ancients, who occupy the last relegation place.

Norton have home advantage against Dunston UTS, with a major doubt surrounding goalkeeper Michael Thackeray, who missed the midweek defeat at the hands of Bishop Auckland.

Dunston accept that they are going through a transitional period, but even so, victory would propel them into the top six. Manager Billy Irwin is anxious for Liam Thear, Dale Burrell and Alex Francis to play, especially as Michael Pearson is banned.

Bedlington Terriers are bottom ahead of their visit to Jarrow Roofing, who have transferred Michael Riley to Newcastle Benfield.

Roofing boss Richie McLoughlin also reports that Corey Barnes is free from work commitments and is named in a strong squad.