Seaham Red Star ‘better than league position suggests’

Seaham Red Star beat title-chasing Consett on Saturday.
Seaham Red Star beat title-chasing Consett on Saturday.
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Seaham Red Star manager Mark Collingwood believes that he is working with a far better squad than the league table would suggest.

Red Star are currently third from bottom in Division One after winning just five of their 23 league fixtures so far this season.

Collingwood has overseen a large turnover of players throughout a difficult season, but last weekend’s 1-0 home win over title-chasing Consett is a sign that things are starting to come together at the Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium.

Red Star visit in-form North Shields tomorrow and Collingwood insists that his side can more than match the Robins if they can put in the type of performance he knows they can produce.

He told the club’s website: “People aren’t daft – they know what we have got here.

“They know that we shouldn’t be second- or third-bottom in this league and we wouldn’t be if I’d started the season with the group that I have now.

“North Shields is just another game and I am not bothered about North Shields, I’m not bothered about Ashington, I am just bothered about Seaham Red Star.

“This is what I keep telling the players – focus on ourselves, don’t worry about the other teams or how good they are.

“We are as good as them on our day, we just need to have more of our days where we go out and do it.”

Lee Kerr could make the first competitive start of his second spell with Red Star after returning to the club earlier this week.

Sunderland RCA manager Martin Swales is expecting an open game when his side visit Shildon.

The two sides have already met at Dean Street this season as RCA claimed a 3-2 win over the Railwaymen in the FA Vase.

Swales believes neither side will be under pressure to get a result because they have nothing to play for this season.

Speaking to The Echo, he said: “It gives you confidence going there but they have picked up very well.

“There is no pressure on either side here because neither club has anything to play for, other than a bit of pride.

“That just means it will probably be a really open game because there is a lack of the pressure that normally comes in league games.

“We are both looking to finish as high up the league, but that is about it really.

“We are on the back of two wins and we are confident.”

Dylan Elliott is back in training after a long-term injury lay-off and is available for selection, but Clayton Davis has been ruled out with a calf injury.

Division One leaders Dunston UTS face a tough test of their title credentials when they visit third-placed Consett.

The visitors are awaiting news on the fitness of striker Scott Heslop after he missed last weekend’s home win against Penrith.

Consett could hand a home debut to new signing Nick Allen after he made a first appearance for the club as a substitute in the defeat at Seaham Red Star.

Fellow promotion challengers Bishop Auckland will hope to take advantage of any slip-ups when Two-Blues manager Ian Chandler faces his former club Whitley Bay at Heritage Park.

West Auckland Town face a quick reunion with FA Vase opponents Hebburn Town when the two sides meet on South Tyneside, seven days after Gary Forrest’s side progressed into the last eight of the competition with a 2-0 win at the Energy Check Sports Ground.

Midfielder Steven Snaith will return to the West squad after completing a one-match suspension.

New Newcastle Benfield manager Stuart Elliott takes charge of the Lions for the first time when they visit Ashington, assisted by Paul Brayson.

Division One’s bottom two clubs meet at the Glebe as Whickham entertain Penrith. The hosts will be without Dale Burrell as he serves the final game of a three-match suspension.

In-form Stockton Town go looking for a sixth consecutive league win when they entertain Newton Aycliffe at the Coverall Stadium.