Northern League: Sunderland RCA ready for tough challenge at Bishop Auckland as Swales looks to stretch unbeaten run

Easington Colliery striker David Paul (green) chases down a ball in last week's 4-3 win over Alnwick Town. Picture by Kevin Brady
Easington Colliery striker David Paul (green) chases down a ball in last week's 4-3 win over Alnwick Town. Picture by Kevin Brady
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Sunderland RCA boss Martin Swales hopes to make it three matches unbeaten tomorrow as he targets an end-of-season surge up the First Division table.

The Meadow Park men travel to sixth-top Bishop Auckland, looking to repeat a 2-1 home victory back in October.

Swales said: “We’re playing against my old side and we always expect a tough game against Bishop Auckland.

“They have a good surface, one of the better pitches in the league. Hopefully we’ll get on a bit of a run until the end of the season.

“We’ll go there in good spirits and hopefully get a good result.”

Michael Charlton, Colin Larkin and James Cassidy need fitness tests, but Josh Carmichael, Luke Richardson and Greg Swansbury all return for RCA.

Youngster Brad Wilson out with knee ligament damage, and striker Liam McBryde is sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Bishops are eager to get back to winning ways after last week’s 1-1 home draw against Ryhope CW.

Seaham Red Star, lifted by a point from their midweek visit to Penrith, host Newcastle Benfield.

Nat Skidmore has returned to the club on work experience from Hartlepool United, while Luke Proctor and Lewis Murphy are available again, but Craig Price serves a suspension.

Joint Benfield manager Mark Convery misses Moussa Bakhti (ankle) and said: “Tom McNamee has taken up a job opportunity in New York. There will be a few more missing due to weddings and holidays, so this is a good opportunity to put some of the young ones in that we’ve trained with, but haven’t seen in action yet.”

Bottom club Chester-le-Street journey to Jarrow Roofing, and have Joe Grant, David Latham and Dan McGuire returning to the squad.

With no injuries to report, manager Colin Wake has a full squad to choose from.

On-form Roofing, unbeaten in five, have captain Shaun Vipond and striker Dennis Knight both returning after the pair missed Tuesday’s 4-0 victory against Washington.

Tom Bailey is a doubt, having picked up a knock in midweek, while midfielder Paul Gardiner is still a long-term absentee.

Ryhope CW, unbeaten in six games, have the first of two successive free weekends but return to action at home to Chester-le-Street on Tuesday.

Fourth-bottom Washington also have no match, and their next game is a trip to Newcastle Benfield next weekend.

The match of the day sees third-top defending champions Shildon away to leaders North Shields.

Shildon press officer John Atkinson said: “Lewis Dodds will still be out and Anthony Bell is still recovering from injury. He came back last week but may have had a reaction to it.”

North Shields, 11 points clear of second-top South Shields and 19 in front of Shildon, have a fully fit squad available.

Kevin Hughes could return to the starting line-up, after he missed the 2-1 win over Consett on Wednesday. Dan Wilson, who came off the bench to score Shields’ winner against the Steelmen, is pushing for a start.

West Auckland, fifth-bottom and nine points clear of the drop zone, are at home to Newton Aycliffe.

West press officer Cliff Alderson said: “We will still be without Kerry Hedley, who is serving the last game of his suspension.

“We’re still down the wrong end of the table, they’re safe and hopefully we can get three much-needed points. After this match, we’re at home for the following four games, so hopefully we can pick up those points to keep us safe.”

Elsewhere, second-bottom Guisborough are away to Dunston UTS, Marske United take an eight-game winning streak into their home clash with Penrith and fourth-placed Morpeth Town entertain West Allotment Celtic.