Ryhope CW boss Gary Pearson is seeking a big derby boost in tomorrow’s First Division derby away to Seaham Red Star at the Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium.
The Wearsiders, down to fifth-bottom spot, lost their derby against Sunderland RCA last weekend, but found fine form to outgun Durham City in the League Cup in midweek.
Manager Pearson,said: “We have another derby game this weekend and our league form has been poor of late, so we will be looking to capitalise on our midweek win.
“It felt good to break the back of our bad form. I’m good mates with their manager and have managed a couple of their players in the past, so I’m expecting a feisty game.
“We are the underdogs going into the game, but we need to stabilise our results in the league and get ourselves back into contention, as we’re now close to the relegation zone.
“We need to turn our games in hand into points, otherwise we could find ourselves caught up in a dogfight towards the end of the season.”
Ryhope have striker Mickey Rae available again and midfielder Chris Trewick will be back in the team, after missing the midweek game.
Defender Danni Lay returns from suspension, but Chris Wallace (knee), David Gordon (knee) and back-up goalkeeper Antony Lowerson (work) are all missing.
Doubts also surround Adam Cocks and Lewis Turnbull, who both picked up injuries in midweek.”
Seaham Red Star boss Chris McCabe is in a good mood for the game.
Red Star, despite going down 3-0 to Newcastle Benfield in midweek, were given a big boost by last week’s draw at high-flying Shildon.
McCabe said: “The lads did well last Saturday at Shildon, coming back from 2-0 down inside 10 minutes to earn a point.
“But, saying that, I was disappointed we never took all three - two harsh decisions saw a strong penalty appeal ignored and a goal disallowed for supposed contact with their keeper.
“We are all looking forward to the game, which will be another tough one against local rivals Ryhope CW.”
Ash Davis and Tommy Price should return after missing last weekend through work commitments, but Craig Lynch, Kieran Galbraith and Aaron Croft are still out injured.”
Sunderland RCA welcome Whitley Bay to Meadow Park.
Boss Martin Swales said: “We’ve had a great week, taking six points in our last two games.
“Whitley Bay are doing well, but we’re playing well at home and are confident of bagging another three points.”
Dylan Elliott and Clayton Davis miss out this weekend, but Jonathan Davis and goalkeeper Neal Bussey return.
RCA will hand late fitness tests for Reece Noble, Nathan O’Neill and skipper Greg Swansbury.
Second-bottom Washington travel to Newcastle Benfield.
Secretary Steve Haywood admitted: “It will be a tough game for us and they have a lot of quality, which they have shown this season already.”
The Mechanics miss Corey Barnes with a dislocated shoulder, while while Abdull Karim and Pascal Chimbonda are suspended.
Consett visit Ashington for what should be a decent game.
Consett manager Mark Eccles said: “David Knight, who hasn’t played all season, will be missing again, but, apart from that, we finally have more or less a fully fit squad to choose from.
“It’ll be a hard game - Ashington away is always a tough place to go to.
“They’ve had better results since manager Steve Bowey took over. Our aim is always to win, but we just hope to go there and take something from the game.”
Ashington have Dale Pearson and Lee McAndrew returning, but midfielder David Edwards is ruled out. Boss Bowey will monitor the fitness of defender Ryan Bell.
Shildon, clinging on to fifth place, make the short journey to Newton Aycliffe, who are eight points clear of the bottom three places.
West Auckland are just two points behind Shildon going into their attractive home clash with runaway leaders Morpeth Town, who seem to be unstoppable at present.
West official Cliff Alderson said: “Anthony Bell is still out due to suspension, but Alex Francis should return to the squad.
“We’re expecting a good game. Morpeth are top of the league, they beat us 3-2 earlier in the season, so we don’t expect it to be easy.”
Troubled Billingham Synthonia host Dunston UTS.
Conrad Hillerby stood down as boss in midweek after three years in charge, with Jamie Tunstall taking over.
Synners are hoping for people to come forward to help in any way possible to see out the season
A statement read: “May we take the opportunity to offer anyone the chance to come forward and become part of the football club to move the club forward in our quest to provide a more stable future and new home for the football club.
“If anyone does want to do this please contact us via the club website/email firstname.lastname@example.org
“We ask any fans, past players etc to try and back us to attend games so we can continue to run as a club going into the end of the season. We hopefully look forward to seeing people on Saturday.”
James Rowe pulled a calf muscle last Saturday and is a big doubt. Ben Jackson (knee) is also struggling, but Lewis Wood returns after missing a few games.
Secretary Graham Craggs said: “We have been competing well recently and believe we will win a game soon. We played Dunston last week in the cup and only lost 1-0, so we are hopeful that we might do better this weekend against them.”
Elsewhere, North Shields entertain Guisborough and Penrith welcome Team Northumbria.
Two Northern League clubs are in FA Vase fifth round action.
Stockton Town host Midlands League outfit Stourport Swifts, while Marske United, with no injury or suspension worries, have a full squad available for their home clash with Western League side Bradford Town.
Marske will hope their ground is fit to stage the game, following a host of recent postponements.