Wearside League: Nelson salutes solid West End defence ahead of Shipowners’ test

Silksworth CW (red) take on Bishop Auckland Reserves in the Durham County Trophy last week
Silksworth CW (red) take on Bishop Auckland Reserves in the Durham County Trophy last week
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Top-four rivals Hartlepool and Sunderland West End will battle it out tomorrow for a place in the second round of the Shipowners’ Cup.

And Ford Quarry boss Anth Nelson is confident of returning home from Grayfields (1.30pm) with a win in the bag.

He said: “We’ve lost only once in the league and our back four are playing really well.

“Danny Martin, Tom Price, Callum Hodgson and Brad Forster will again form the defence after keeping another clean sheet in our last game.

“We’ve conceded only 16 goals all season, a figure bettered only by Stockton Town.”

Neal Bussey will return in goal for West End now that he has recovered from an injury, but Stephen Lax and Keiron Martin miss out through suspension.

Hartlepool, who are third, a point ahead of West End, have two goalkeepers to choose from, with Callum Hudson and Gary Fleetham both making their comebacks. Kalon Lloyd is also named in a full-strength squad.

Seaham Red Star Reserves, buoyed after scoring seven times against Wolviston in midweek, have home advantage against holders Stockton Town (1.30pm).

Although Matthew Mustard returns, work commitments sideline Paul Henderson and Jonathan Hodgson, while Kyle Morris is on the injured list.

Horden CW manager Martin Mulcaster had hoped to make a signing ahead of the league visit from Spennymoor Town Reserves (2pm), but the proposed move has fallen through.

Darren Atkinson has recovered from an illness and is pencilled into Mulcaster’s squad, but Josh Allen and Peter Henderson have left the club and Dan Turner will not play again until the New Year because of work commitments.

Spennymoor – one place and a point ahead of the Colliers, cannot call upon Chris Baxter or Connor Dunlavey.

It’s all change for Silksworth CW at Richmond Town.

Rob Hall has moved to Easington Colliery and Michael Jacob is now with Ashbrooke Belford House.

Manager Sean Butler has moved quickly to replace the pair, bringing in Dan Pearson and Chris Spence from Esh Winning. Kris Dixon is another newcomer who could also be involved.

Richmond anxiously await news on star striker Mark Sims, who is troubled with an ankle injury, but Gary Hutchinson and Andrew Mackintosh come into the reckoning.

Jarrow travel to bottom club Murton without goalkeeper Gary Frater and centre-half Mark Williams, while Prudhoe Town have Ryan Chambers and brothers Jack and Thomas Wanless doubtful at home to Whitehaven.

With the three teams immediately below them in cup action, Redcar Athletic will look to stretch their five-point lead at the top of the table by defeating Harton and Westoe CW.

The Seasiders have just about a full complement of players to choose from, their only absentee being Joe Blackburn.

Wolviston, who conceded seven goals in their midweek fixture, make a second attempt to stage their Durham County Trophy tie with Gateshead Rutherford.

A blow to their chances of regaining winning form is the absence through suspension of Andrew McGirr, Allan Hamilton and David Johnson.