WHEN Seaham Red Star made an uncertain start to the season, manager Mark Collingwood claimed that things could only get better.
And how right he was. It wasn’t long before the side’s form took off and ahead of tomorrow’s Second Division game at home to lowly Esh Winning, they are second-top following 11 consecutive victories.
And to cap off a marvellous couple of months, the Star hammered First Division Whitley Bay in the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup on Tuesday night.
“There is a good feeling and great atmosphere throughout the club. Not only are we winning but playing some fantastic stuff.
“This doesn’t mean though that we’ll take any side for granted. I know Esh Winning are second-bottom and we defeated them 12-1 in the FA Carlsberg Vase last month, but we’ll treat them with the utmost respect,” insisted Collingwood
Secretary David Copeland reckons that everybody at the club is ebullient and can’t wait for the next game.
Copeland said: “Gates are up and we had our biggest attendance of the season for the Whitley Bay match.”
Although captain Chris Scott and Daryl Donnelly return, Collingwood misses Gary Shaw, Ryan Burton and Chris Storey.
Ryhope CW are seventh going into their attractive home fixture with leaders Team Northumbria, who are on a high after defeating West Auckland 5-0 in the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup on Monday night.
Liam Gill, who scored 22 goals for Wearside League neighbours Silksworth CW, is set to make his debut after making the short move this week and Chris Trewick and Stephen Oakley are also named.
Daryl Evans and Nathan O’Neil are banned and goalkeeper Chris Rookes is also absent which means that Barry Poskett will again don the keeper’s jersey.
He was sent off for handling outside the box in Tuesday’s game with Consett.
Player-manager Gary Pearson took over, but at half-time he was replaced by 16-year-old Anthony Rookes, brother of Chris.
Team Northumbria head coach Colin Stromsoy claims he has a pleasant selection headache saying: “We were magnificent defeating West Auckland when Ben Murdoch, Mark Bertram and Robbie Spence were absent so I’ve got some difficult decisions to make.”
Washington, like Red Star, have come good and are fourth going into their fixture at Hebburn Town, where boss Steven Hutchinson will have to assess the fitness of James Fairley, Joe Walton and Michael Coghlan before finalising his squad.
A boost, though, is the inclusion of Paul Wardle and Joe Kendrick.
“Hebburn were flying at the beginning of the season, but their league form has slipped.
They are a good team though, capable of getting results so I know it’s going to be tough,” observed Hutchinson.