Northern League: Durham City boss Hotchkiss desperate for green light against Brandon

Easington (green) battle against Tow Law last month. Picture by Kevin Brady
Easington (green) battle against Tow Law last month. Picture by Kevin Brady

Durham City boss Ollie Hotchkiss’s New Year wish is that tomorrow’s Second Division derby against Brandon United gets the go-ahead at Willington’s Hall Lane ground.

City are sixth in the table but have played just once since December 2 and Hotchkiss said: “My main hope is that the game will actually be played.

“It’s frustrating with so many games being lost to the weather. In midweek, we lost our scheduled match, due to a waterlogged pitch.

“I have friends at Brandon and am looking forward to welcoming them, in what should be a good game. Hopefully we can maintain our recent good form and start the year off positively.”

City have Brad Hird back in the squad and hope that Ross Simpson and Jeremy Allen will also be available for selection, alongside Matthew Smith, who should be back from holiday.

Easington Colliery travel to Thornaby, with Lewis Green still awaiting his debut after illness. He could make the game.

Michael Cooke missed the Boxing Day win at Hebburn and should return, alongside Shaun Smithn.

Crook Town welcome Billingham Town to the Millfield Ground and have no injuries, apart from centre-back Michael Weston, who is a doubt with a hamstring injury.

Crook may have a new signing in before the game.

Billingham Town have Jake Fenton back after serving a two-match ban, but Ashley Lavan starts his suspension.

The Teessiders can hand debuts to three new signings – goalkeeper Lewis Shaw from Stokesley, plus Jason Blackburn and Glen Hargrave, newly arrived from Hebburn.

Esh Winning entertain West Allotment Celtic and hope to have a full squad to select from, for the first time in a long while.

Reece Brown is back from a long-term injury and Callum Boakes is the only doubt.

Manager Tony Boakes said: “We welcome a West Allotment side who have beaten Bedlington and drawn with Whickham recently, so we won’t be taking them lightly.

“We should be giving Kai Hewitson and Alex Goundry their home debuts.”

Tow Law Town welcome struggling Darlington RA and club official Lee Cullinan said: “The team is back to full strength, with Adam Nicholls returning to the squad. Our hopes are to take all three points and get ourselves back on track.”

Willington visit Ryton & Crawcrook Albion and will be unchanged from the side which impressively beat Tow Law 3-0 last time out.

Chairman Richard Tremewan said: “We haven’t had a game for a week and a half, due to the weather. We hope to continue our good form and carry on with our push up the table and we are hoping for at least a draw this weekend.”

Hebburn Town, without a win in eight games, host leaders Northallerton Town.

Hebburn manager Scott Oliver said: “Rhys Williams will be available after missing a couple of months through injury. Scott Wallace, Craig Malley and Callum Smith will also return from injury.

“Unfortunately, David Coulson is still carrying an injury and will miss the game. We need a result from the game. We have to pick up some good results, to turn our bad run of form around quickly.”

Elsewhere, Alnwick Town face Whickham, Bedlington Terriers welcome Blyth and Jarrow entertain Heaton Stannington.