TONIGHT’S crunch game between Redcar Athletic and Ryhope CW will not decide the Wearside League championship, but it will have a big bearing on the eventual outcome, writes MALCOLM PRATT.
The Teessiders have a three-point advantage, but visitors Ryhope have a game in hand and a significantly better goal difference as they look to successfully defend their title.
The Wearsiders have doubts surrounding the availability of Dean Arkley, Liam Cox and Chris Trewick.
Ross Stead is back and secretary Dougie Benison is in no doubt as to the importance of the clash, saying: “It’s just about neck and neck between us.
“Although they will still have three games to play and ourselves four matches to fulfil, there’s little doubt that if either side wins tonight they will be in the driving seat.”
Redcar are boosted by the inclusion of James Smuk, Ritchie Playforth and Luke Woodhall.
“It’s the crunch game of the season and the winners will take a giant step forward,” said Athletic secretary Kevin Fryett. “We’re out for revenge after losing to Ryhope in the Shipowners Cup final.
“This is probably the biggest game in our short history. We’ve won all three domestic cups, but the championship is the biggest prize.”
Ashbrooke Belford House host Boldon CA at Silksworth and manager Tommy Dobbing reports that injuries keep Lewis Hutchinson and Paul Robertson on the sidelines.
He hopes that Kyle Anderson and Shaun Ross will be able to play but is less confident of Mark Green being available.
Sunderland West End, hoping to finish in third position, entertain Hartlepool without the injured trio of Chris Curtis, David Keithley or Andrew McQuillen, Manager David Bond awaits news on Scott Young’s fitness.
Peterlee Town will offer free admission for their fixture with Darlington Cleveland Bridge as a thank you to fans who have supported them during the season.
Boss Paul Adamson adds several players to his squad, including Daniel Reeve who has returned after a brief spell with Horden CW. Also in contention are Paul Griffiths, Stephen Langton, Peter Crawford, David Laight, Anth Rathbone and Luke Page.
Leam Rangers aim to end an abysmal run of 10 defeats when they host Annfield Plain. Leon Kane is free from suspension and Liam Barnett returns after being out for two months with a groin strain.
John Richardson and Adam Blenkinsop are missing for Willington at Wolviston.