Northern League: Underdogs Bishop Auckland relish big FA Cup day-out at Stockport County

Striker Andrew Johnson (white shirt) will be a key man for Bishop Auckland in tomorrow's FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie at Stockport County
Striker Andrew Johnson (white shirt) will be a key man for Bishop Auckland in tomorrow's FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie at Stockport County
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Bishop Auckland head to Edgeley Park in confident mood for tomorrow’s Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash with Stockport County.

Former Football League club Stockport are 10th in the National League North, just four points off a play-off spot, while Bishops are the lowest ranked club left in the competition.

Bishops chairman Nick Postma said “We know they’re a team from a higher league but we’re confident that we’ll give them a good game.

“We know it’s a cup tie so anything can happen, but we’re not taking anything for granted.

“Hopefully we will have a full squad to choose from. Scott Martindale has had an injury, but we are confident he will be playing. Goalkeeper Scott Pocklington is still out with an injury, so Ed Wilczynski will continue to cover.”

The winners will receive £12,500 prize money as well as a place in the first round proper.

Evo-Stik League high-fliers Spennymoor Town visit Lincoln United.

In Northern League Division Two, Easington Colliery head to Esh Winning without winger Aaron Croft, their new signing from Washington.

Apart from Croft, they have a full squad available, with Shane O’Brien returning from suspension.

Durham City head to second-bottom Darlington RA, who have Jordan Hanratty and Christian Holliday returning and could sign a new striker.

Willington face Hebburn Town at Hall Lane looking for points to avoid being dragged into the drop zone.

Hebburn boss Scott Oliver misses Glen Hargrave (holiday), while Jason Blackburn faces a fitness test.

Oliver said: “Willington are struggling at the moment, but there really are no easy games in this league. Saturday is a must win game if we want to challange the leaders.

“We have had a good week, with a good performance and win against Darlington RA followed by going through in the League Cup last night on penalties.

“We took a chance, made five changes rested Channon North and had a look at defender Chris Smith up front. We had to give some game time to lads as they have been very patient waiting for their chance.”

Crook Town have a full squad available at Ryton & Crawcrook Albion, excepting Peter Brown, who is serving the first game of a three-match ban.

Heaton Stannington travel to Brandon United having won seven of their last eight league away matches.

Ryan Doyle, Lewis O’Brien and Dan Sherliker all made their debuts in the League Cup in midweek and are in contention for starts at Brandon, whose fortunes have improved markedly in recent weeks.

United are without Kyle Wren, who is suspended, but Vinny Gash is back from a ban.

Billingham Town have Stephen Oakley banned for the visit of Bedlington Terriers.

Stockton Town have Adam Nicholson and James Ward back as they try to get back to winning ways at home to neighbours Thornaby.

Manager Michael Dunwell, after a run of one point in three games, misses only Matthew Garbutt.

Two unbeaten records go on the line as leaders Team Northumbria host fourth-top Billingham Synthonia.

Synners miss Steven Huggins (hamstring) and Joe Hillerby (ankle), but Austin Johnston returns, after five weeks out with a knee injury.

Team Northumbria were held by Easington in a tight clash last week, and head coach Colin Stromsoy claimed: “Billingham have had a great run, they have great players and have made some great signings, we’re pretty much the underdogs.”

Tow Law entertain Norton, whose only absentee is centre-back Liam Brown, while Blyth Town will be at full strength for their trip to Whickham.