Durham City manager Ollie Hotchkiss is full of praise for his squad’s efforts so far in the Second Division campaign.
City are 10th in the table, with an excellent away record and indifferent home form at their new base at Willington.
Hotchkiss said: “I don’t have the kind of budgets that other teams have, so my players have been brilliant.
“I feel they have over-achieved and that’s down to their really hard work and dedication.
“We have had a few too many draws earlier in the season, but then we won nine in a row, which pushed up the table.
“We do try to play football the right way.
“I am very lucky to have Olivier Bernard supporting me. He lets me get on with the job in hand and has very exciting plans ahead for the club.”
Easington Colliery are two points below City in 11th, with Craig Hughes and Craig Veart in charge for the past few months.
Press officer Connor Lamb said: “The season’s been a bit hit and miss.
“We’ve got a good squad, but a lot of them are playing their first season in the Northern League.
“They didn’t have the experience when they joined us, but they have got better as we’ve moved into the second half of the season.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries but are still looking for a top-10 finish.
“Next year, we aim to finish in the top five and possibly aim for promotion.”
Chester-le-Street have recovered after an indifferent start to the season, following relegation from Division One.
Manager Colin Wake has kept faith with the younger players, and brought in one or two experienced heads, and the results have improved, to push them up to mid-table safety. They currently sit in 13th place.
The Cestrians have had to deal with their fair share of injuries this campaign, but, with 10 wins and six draws under their belts from 27 games, they have turned their season around and will be looking to push up the table, in their remaining games of the season.