SUNDERLAND RCA are without a fixture in Division One and will be knocked off the top if Whitley Bay win at Shildon.
West Auckland are third, equal on points with Ian Chandler’s Bay, and they start favourites at out-of-sorts Consett, who are in the unaccustomed position of fifth from the basement.
Consett manager Kenny Lindoe is hoping to have Carl Piecha, Ryan Bell and Anthony Lund back, but Dale Burrell and Craig Robson are definitely out.
Jarrow Roofing have slipped into the bottom three and boss Richie McLoughlin is desperately hoping to sign a goalkeeper before his side’s game with Newton Aycliffe.
“We’ve got to stop their leaking so many goals. Billingham Town put seven past us on Monday and only Stokesley have conceded more times,” observed McLoughlin, who misses Neil Scott.
A blow for South Shields, who meet Guisborough Town at Filtrona Park, is the news that Johnny Wightman broke a foot against Sunderland RCA on Boxing Day.
Stephen Ramsey is also out with a knee injury, while Barrie Smith and Lee Bell are suspended.
For their game at bottom club Stokesley SC, who have claimed just one point from 26 games, title hopefuls Spennymoor Town have Jamie Harwood doubtful.
“We’ve got to go there with a positive attitude and not think they will be pushovers,” said Moors’ assistant boss, Perry Briggs.
“We’ve got to be up for the task and make sure it’s not a banana skin.”