Red Star on the way up

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MANAGER Mark Collingwood reckons Seaham Red Star are ‘picking it up’ after losing two of their first three games.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Ebac Northern League Second Division game against Ryton and Crawcrook Albion at Seaham Town Park he said: “We took just three points from a possible nine but are unbeaten in our last six games, four of which we have won.

“I think we are getting where we want to be and a win tomorrow would be a great boost since they are two places and a couple of points above us.”

Collingwood though will have to get along without Robbie Hesketh who will be out for at least two months with knee ligament damage.

Josh Home Jackson is nursing a hamstring injury and Lewis Wing, who Collingwood says has been tremendous so far, is also unavailable.

Washington, who have signed Anth Callaghan from Whitby Town, anticipate a difficult game at Northallerton Town.

“We are equal on points and it’s always tough going down there, but if you want to do well in this league, these are the games you have to win,” claimed manager Steven Hutchinson.

Danny Lay and Clayton Davis are added to the squad, but Greg Swansbury is banned while Joe Walton and Aaron Croft will need their fitness assessed before kick-off.

Chester-le-Street are going through a hard time, according to manager Colin Wake.

“The good thing is we are sticking together as a club and continuing to do the same things that worked for us last season. We need to knuckle down and grind our way out of it,” said Wake.

The Cestrians are at Tow Law Town unable to name Andrew Grant Soulsby or Jake Stafford. In addition, Wake has injury concerns for Chris Stephenson, Stephen Telford and Craig Marron.

Birtley Town boss Tony Boakes says he wants his players to enjoy the game. He said: “It’s what it’s all about and we look forward to playing anybody. We know it will be a hard task at Norton and Stockton Ancients, but hopefully we’ll have a good afternoon.”

Jack Watchman, who played in Australia, has now obtained international clearance and Boakes says he will definitely make his debut tomorrow.

Joe Gill is troubled with a twisted achilles while Alan Herbert and Lee Best are definitely sidelined.

Norton miss the suspended Steve Barker, but include Lee Farrington, signed this week from Northallerton Town.

South Shields are the in-form side and six wins on the bounce have lifted them into third place before they tackle Heaton Stannington at their temporary Peterlee home.

The Mariners are keeping their fingers crossed that Lee Maitland will be able to play especially as Stephen Graham is attending his brother’s wedding.

Despite surprisingly losing in mid-week, Team Northumbria remain in pole position and are favourites to see off bottom-of-the-table Brandon United who have taken just two points from a possible 30.

Team again name 17-year-old Nathan Marshall, who made his debut on Tuesday night, but Sam Norris, Liam McNamarra and Glen Caygill are ruled out.