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Northern League: Gilhespy arrival a big boost for Seaham Red Star’s Benfield showdown

Sunderland RCA's Ross Preston (yellow) clears in last month's clash with Seaham Red Star
Sunderland RCA's Ross Preston (yellow) clears in last month's clash with Seaham Red Star

Seaham Red Star welcome new signing Luke Gilhespy, signed from Bishop Auckland, to their squad for tomorrow’s home Division One match against Newcastle Benfield.

Manager Chris McCabe said: “Luke will go straight into the side, as a replacement for the suspended David Scorer.

“Luke is a very experienced defender who has played for Dunston and Bishops and I know I can rely on him, despite the fact that Scorer has had a good season.

“The competition for places is what I want and Luke won’t make it easy for David to get his place back.”

Seaham are still missing long-term injury victims Craig Lynch, Lee Hetherington, Liam McBryde and Nicky Kane, but Tommy Scott and Kieran Galbraith are available again.

Seaham co-manager Paul Johnson said: “Newcastle Benfield are in a good run of form and last Saturday’s Vase win will have them buoyant.

“But we are looking forward to the game and the recent additions to our squad will be out to show our supporters what they’re capable off.”

Ryhope CW entertain Consett in an attractive clash which promises goals.

Assistant manager Stuart Gooden said: “We had a really good draw with them earlier in the season, and we know they’re one of the biggest attacking teams in the league.

“We’re looking forward to the game, but our form has been up and down of late, but we go into this match full of confidence.”

Ryhope definitely miss long-term injured Davey Gordon and Christopher Wallace, while Ben Riding and Richard Paxton will be unavailable due to work commitments.

Striker Josh Home-Jackson, though, returns to the squad.

Consett manager Mark Eccles said: “We have a couple of players missing this weekend, with Matty Slocombe away and Dave Knight still out injured.

“Dan Hawkins picked up an injury in our midweek win over Tow Law Town, but he has to wait for the swelling on his knee to calm down, before a diagnosis can be made.

“This takes us down to our last 16, so I’m hoping Josh Gray might be back from injury, but it could still be too early for him to return to the team.”

Sunderland RCA visit Penrith, with manager Martin Swales expecting a tough test against the third-bottom Cumbrians.

Swales said: “We face a tough away game, but we’ve won a couple of games recently and hope to take all three points, to help us climb up the league.

“We should be back to full strength and are feeling confident.”

Goalkeeper Neal Bussey and Dylan Elliott will be back in the team after suspension, while centre-back Greg Swansbury and forward Nathan O’Neill are fit and will also make a return to the squad.

There will be late fitness tests for James Armstrong and Clayton Davis.

Lowly Washington are at home to Whitley Bay and manager James Clark said: “We have a fully fit squad for the weekend.

“We are looking forward to getting games back to action, after the bad weather, and we hope to take all three points from the game.”

Dunston UTS have a few players returning after injury for their visit to Shildon.

Dale Burrell, Callum Elliott, Adam Rundle, Aidan Grant, but James Martin and Dan Capewell are not fit.

But new signing Matteo Faiola may make his debut and Michael Pearson may return to the squad after returning from extended holiday.

West Auckland Town, fresh from their comeback FA Vase win over Whitley Bay, travel to Guisborough Town.

West manager Gary Forrest said: “We will be playing with a full squad this weekend. All players will be available for selection, apart from Ross Colquhoun, who is serving a suspension.”

Guisborough have fitness doubts over four players.

Midfielder Jay Wilson is doubtful with a back injury, while fellow midfielder Lewis Maloney is still recovering from a badly gashed leg.

Long-term injury victim Bradley Mills is still on the sidelines, as he recovers from a shoulder injury and is likely to be out until January, while striker Nathan Steel is unavailable due to holidays.

Bottom club Billingham Synthonia face a tough task at second-top Marske United.

Synners secretary Graham Craggs said: “Our captain, John Seaton, is still out of the team, with a long-term injury (broken foot).

“Foster Garton, who has been out with an ankle injury, had an extra week to get fit with no match last week, so he should hopefully be somewhere near full fitness.”

Marske have no injury worries, other than long-term absentees Ashley Coffey and Andy Ramsbottom.

Stockton Town travel to Morpeth Town.

Stockton will have Joe Carter and Adam Nicholson back in the squad, but Matthew Garbutt can’t make the trip because of work commitments.

Down near the bottom, Bishop Auckland entertain Jarrow Roofing, with the visitors just two points above the bottom three.

Bishops have picked up of late, with three wins and a draw in their last six games, while Roofing have only one win in their last six.

Ashington, so impressive in their 5-3 midweek win at Dunston UTS, welcome Newton Aycliffe.

Striker Dale Pearson is suspended and Damien Stevens is a doubt, whilst Ryan Bell and Chris Carr return to the squad.

Fifth-bottom Team Northumbria are also in poor form and they take on a strong North Shields side, in fourth-top, at home.