A WIN at Crook Town tomorrow will banish the threat of relegation for Sunderland RCA, but even if they lose the Wearsiders’ survival will be in tact should Billingham Synthonia go down in their last game at Morpeth Town.
Manager Martin Swales though will want his side to book their place in the top flight next season by their own efforts and it will be a major shock if they don’t return from the Millfield ground will all three points.
Crook, once a hotbed for local football, have experienced a torrid season.
They’ve managed just one win and four draws in 39 games and their meagre points haul of seven was reduced when they had three points deducted for an infringement.
They’ve conceded no fewer than 173 goals and RCA should add to that total although, they disappointed in midweek when they went down 4-0 to Ashington.
Jonathon Carmichael, who had to be substituted in Tuesday’s game, is a doubt and should he be ruled out, Carl Morris will deputise in goal.
In addition, Swales has injury concerns for Lewis Wood, Stephen Callan, Michael Charlton and influential striker Colin Larkin.
Crook Town were relegated weeks ago and Celtic Nation are almost certain to join them in Division Two next season, leaving four teams to battle it out to avoid finishing third bottom.
West Allotment Celtic are the current incumbents and following a five-goal rout by Durham City in their last fixture, desperately need points from their final two games, starting against Bedlington Terriers.
At Christmas, Billingham Synthonia were five points adrift of safety, but after defeating Penrith on Monday, they are now outside the drop zone.
They sign off at Morpeth Town where a win would secure top-flight status, if Newton Aycliffe lose at Ashington.
Synners bring in centre half David Abel, but ever-present Kris Hughes will miss his first game of the season.
Morpeth are at full strength and manager Nick Gray is expecting a difficult afternoon.
“They’ve not got a chance of staying up and will be fighting for their lives so it could be interesting,” observed Gray.
Newton Aycliffe are the other side looking over their shoulders and their final game is at in-form Ashington, who name recent signing from Whitely Bay, Craig Smith.
Manager Steve Harmeson misses James Taylor, Joe Moscrop and Paul Dunn and awaits news on the fitness of James Loughborough and Kyle Oliver.
Durham City are at championship contenders North Shields minus Chris Wallace, who will not play again this season after breaking an ankle.
Aidan Haley comes into contention after regaining fitness, but Nathan Lawrence is troubled with a hamstring injury.
North Shields, who meet Glossop North End in the final of the FA Carlsberg Vase at Wembley next month, add Stuart Donninson, Adam Forster, John Grey and Dean Walker to their squad.
The Robins are one of five sides competing for the title although West Auckland are almost certainly out of the running.
Leaders Guisborough Town host Dunston UTS, who have Michael Dixon, Stephen Harrison and Dan Smith back.
Second placed Marske United travel to Consett and Shildon take on Whitley Bay.
Just eight points separate the top five teams with Shildon and North Shields, who have games in hand on the leading trio, in a position where they can clinch the title by their own efforts.