Sunderland RCA ready for Shildon challenge in the Northern League

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SUNDERLAND RCA face a big test tomorrow when they welcome championship contenders Shildon to Meadow Park.

The Wearsiders are just below halfway in Division One while their opponents are riding high in third position.

“We had a good win in midweek, so the lads are up for what promises to be a cracking game. I’ve got a full squad available including Martin Smith, who is fit again,” said manager Neil Hixon.

Former Bedlington Terriers player Keith Graydon is also named alongside Richard Logan, who has scored six goals in his last three outings,

Hixon, meanwhile, has trimmed his squad to 22 by transferring David Duke (pictured) and Michael Coghlan to Jarrow Roofing.

Pace-setters Consett have the chance to extend their lead since nearest challengers Spennymoor Town are on FA Vase duty.

The Steelmen visit Jarrow Roofing and boss Kenny Lindoe is pleased that international clearance has been obtained for Stephen Aiston, who has been playing in the United States.

Newcastle Benfield, whose title hopes received a setback when they were beaten by Shildon on Wednesday, need all three points against second-bottom Esh Winning at Waterhouses.

Bedlington Terriers will go fifth if they defeat Stokesley.

In Division Two, Seaham Red Star visit Birtley Town with only five points separating the pair near the foot of the table.

Seaham boss Kevin Turns declared: “Despite our defeat in midweek, I remain confident we can put things right. I’ve got a full-strength side available and a win would take us very close to Birtley, so there’s a lot at stake.”

Keeper Alex McKenzie is a definite absentee from the Chester-le-Street line-up at home to Gillford Park as boss Stuart Sherwood awaits news on the availability of Kyle Bird and Lee Harrison.

Newton Aycliffe, who enjoy an 11-point lead at the top, host sixth-placed New Marske, while North Shields hope it will not be unlucky 13 at Darlington RA.

The Robins are third after winning nine and drawing three of their last 12 games.