Northern League: Chester out to get back to winning ways at Crook

Sunderland RCA's James Cassidy (yellow) comes under pressure from Washington's Ross Gardner
Sunderland RCA's James Cassidy (yellow) comes under pressure from Washington's Ross Gardner

Chester-le-Street aim to avenge their early-season home defeat when they visit Crook Town in Division Two tomorrow, weather permitting.

The Cestrians lost 2-0 to Crook in August but have responded well to climb into mid-table.

Official Joe Burlison, whose side suffered a first home defeat in nine league games in midweek, said: “Connor Lyon should be available, as he comes back from holiday, while Lee Mole needs to check to see if he’s working.

“The rest will be the same squad as played in midweek. After our setback on Tuesday, we hope to get back to winning ways.”

Crook manager Chris Lax, boosted by the 4-2 midweek victory over Brandon United, said: “Centre-half Ryan Coles, forward Christian Halliday and midfielder Dale Johnston are missing due to work commitments and experienced forward Wayne Gredziak, is a doubt with a swollen calf.

“It’s another must-win game and we are in a dogfight and an upturn in performance is a must, if we want to get clear of the position we are in the league.”

Durham City welcome Billingham Town to Willington, with the two sides locked together on 39 points apiece.

City manager Ollie Hotchkiss said: “Ross Simpson should be back in contention for the squad, but Jeremy Allen will be unavailable after picking up an injury in midweek training.

“Philly Hayes is 50/50 due to an ankle injury, but Steve Malloy should be back in contention to play. Apart from that, everything will be the same.”

Hotchkiss hopes for the go-ahead for the match.

He added: “We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that the game will be played, after our midweek abandonment due to a waterlogged pitch.

“Billingham Town are a good team with some excellent players, but we’re doing well and if we can perform as well as we have recently, we should be able to take all three points.”

New Billingham Town manager James Hunter must do without captain Stephen Oakley and right-back Lee Moore.

Hunter, whose side led before losing 4-1 at Hebburn Town in midweek, said: “We have other lads who can fit in and do the job well, so that is no excuse.

“The lads have really began to bond over the last month and a half and you can now see they have a belief that they can win games and fight for each other on the pitch.”

Easington Colliery journey to Esh Winning without Ethan Wood and Shaun Smith who are absent due to work commitments.

David Vincent is rated 50/50 after an injury sustained in the win over Whickham, but Ryan Barrow is expected to return, having overcome a knock.

Esh will have a depleted squad for various reasons, according to manager Tony Boakes.

He said: “Mathew Allison, Nick Marley, Callum Boakes, Max Stoker and Kai Hewitson will be missing, but it will give a few of the squad a chance to start and keep players out of the team, if possible.”

Second-top Tow Law Town welcome bottom club Alnwick Town and have no suspensions or any injury concerns.

In-form Willington travel to fourth-top Whickham in what should be a cracker of a match.

The home side, with a game in hand, are just seven points behind their hosts and will be looking for another win to maintain their push up the league.

Hebburn Town, in sixth place, welcome West Allotment Celtic, with John Sherlock available after completing his signing from Scottish club Lothian Thistle.

Injured duo David Coulson and Stu Bramley definitely miss out.

Hebburn boss Scott Oliver said: “There is no such thing as an easy game. West Allotment might be down at the bottom of the table, but it won’t be plain sailing for us.

“We’ve been bitten before in similar games, so will keep our wits about us, but we are hopeful, as always, for a victory.”

Troubled Brandon United face a difficult test at Thornaby, who rose to seventh with their impressive midweek win at Northallerton.

Leaders Northallerton Town have a tough task against fellow promotion chasers Heaton Stannington.

Manager Darren Trotter said: “The players who missed the midweek game, Richie Walker and Karl Hewitt, are both expected back.

“Hopefully both Dan Jones and Andrew Shepherd, who sat out the last game through injury, will both be recovered enough to play.”

Elsewhere, Bedlington Terriers welcome Ryton & Crawcrook Albion and Jarrow host Darlington RA.