Northern League: Four out, three back as Chester-le-Street await visit of table-toppers Northallerton

Sunderland RCA's Michael Charlton (red/white) comes under pressure from North Shields last week. Picture by Kevin Brady
Sunderland RCA's Michael Charlton (red/white) comes under pressure from North Shields last week. Picture by Kevin Brady

Chester-le-Street will miss four players for tomorrow’s attractive Second Division game at home to leaders Northallerton Town.

The Cestrians must do without Sam Moore, Danny Naylor, Aaron Reynolds, Danny Hepplewhite and there is a doubt over Kevin Dixon.

But Lee Mole, Michael Hepplewhite and Jack Wilson all return to the squad.

Manager Colin Wake said: “We are expecting a real tough task against top-of-the-table Northallerton, who have strengthened their squad again through the week with top players, in a hope to gain promotion.

“We gave a good account of ourselves down there earlier in the season, but got punished for every mistake we made.

“We go into the game confident that if we perform to our maximum, then we will be in with a good chance of upsetting them.”

Northallerton manager Darren Trotter commented: “Chester-le-Street will cause us some problems, as they did in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and we look forward to the challenge.

“We welcome the arrival of much-travelled midfielder Chris Emms from Crook Town, who has seen service in the past at Blyth Spartans, Darlington and Shildon amongst others.”

Easington Colliery, at home to relegation-threatened Brandon United, have Ethan Wood returning to the squad, having missed last Saturday’s fine win at Darlington RA.

Brennan Ball will also return to the Colliers’ squad, alongside club captain Chris Pearson, but Shaun Smith, who bagged a double last weekend, could miss out due to work commitments.

Durham City are at promotion hopefuls Whickham and miss the holidaying Josh Thompson, though Callum Smith returns.

Manager Ollie Hotchkiss said: “We are looking forward to the game. We had a good result and good performance last Saturday, and so if we can perform like that I’m confident.

“Whickham are doing well at the moment though and are a good side, so we will have to be at our best to get something out the game.”

Esh Winning, boosted by their 4-1 midweek defeat of West Allotment which took them 16 points above the bottom three, journey to Ryton & Crawcrook Albion.

Albion miss Callum Turnbull and long-term absentee Anthony Brown, while Lee Crammond is doubtful. Harry Mitchell is available again, after a holiday.

Billingham Town, up to seventh and given a lift off the field, travel to West Allotment Celtic looking to maintain their upward momentum.

Tonight, on-form Willington, in ninth, welcome fourth-placed Hebburn Town to Hall Lane in a very attractive clash.

Hebburn manager Scott Oliver said: “Jonny Wightman and Ian Bickerstaff are definitely missing and there will be fitness tests for Callum Smith, Dan Robinson, Gary Shaw and Stuart Bramley.

“We are unbeaten for the last seven games, so we are just hoping to continue doing well and hopefully get another three points.”

Crook Town, still in deep trouble and only seven points above the relegation trapdoor, host sixth-top neighbours Tow Law Town, who only miss the suspended Adam Knowles.