Sunderland switch venue for City clash

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BECAUSE of ongoing drainage problems at Meadow Park, Sunderland RCA’s Ebac Northern League First Division fixture with Durham City has been switched to the Nissan sports complex.

And next Tuesday’s match with Bishop Auckland will now be played at Heritage Park.

“We’ve played considerably fewer fixtures than almost every side, so we will be pleased to get back into action,” said matchday secretary Rob Jones.

Manager Martin Swales welcomes the return of Andrew Brown, Michael Charlton and Stephen Bogie who are added to the squad. Keiran Megran, recently signed from Bishop Auckland, could also feature.

Nissan’s ground is just about home from home for Durham City boss Ian Chandler, who lives in Whitburn.

“I’m very happy to go there. It’s an excellent ground and it should be a good match. Martin Swales is experienced and they’ll give us a right test so we’ll have to be up for it,” observed Chandler.

The Citizens have Chris Wallace suspended but Callum Hope resumes and there’s a chance that Arjun Purewal will successfully come through a fitness test on his ankle.

Following their surprise defeat to bottom-six side Newton Aycliffe in mid-week, West Auckland Town, who are without a league fixture, could lead the table only on goal difference by tomorrow night.

Second-top North Shields are odds-on favourites to win at Crook Town who need a miracle if they are to avoid relegation.

Third-placed Marske United and fourth-top Dunston UTS, who are equal on points, clash at the seaside.

UTS secretary Billy Montague admits manager Billy Irwin has been nursing players in recent weeks with one eye on next Saturday’s FA Carlsberg Vase Fourth Round tie at Heanor Town.

Irwin though could well include David Coulson, Andy Bulford and goalkeeper Liam Connell at some stage in tomorrow’s game.

Paddy Atkinson takes charge of Whitley Bay for the first time, against Consett at the Belle Vue stadium and he can’t wait to get started.

The former Blyth Spartans boss, who was assistant at Newcastle Benfield said: “I’m raring to go. Whitley have a great recent history and it’s my challenge to bring back the glory days to Hillheads.”

Consett manager Kenny Lindoe will be minus half a dozen players with Mattie Slocombe, Carl Piecha and Aristote Guerin Lakonga banned and David Brown, Ryan Bell and Chris Elliott injured.

West Allotment Celtic manager Paul Stoneman is looking for back-to-back wins against the two Cumbrian sides, starting at home against Penrith.

“We are too near the bottom for comfort. Penrith are just three places above us while next week’s opponents Celtic Nation are third-from-the basement. These are two games we need to win,” said Stoneman.

The Tynesiders are again decimated with a long unavailability list. In addition to Stoneman, Ryan Beal, Ian Dunn, Sean Reid, Liam Hudson, Mark Waites, Michael Armstrong and Chris Douglas are all ruled out of the game.