Wearside League: Keithley fitness boost as West End look for derby cheer
Sunderland West End have missed out on the championship and are now in a two-horse race with Redcar Athletic for the runners-up position.
They are three points behind the Seasiders with a game in hand and will aim to maintain their challenge by defeating local rivals Ashbrooke Belford House at Ford Quarry tomorrow (2.30pm).
A boost to their chances is the return of David Keithley, who has completed a ban, and Tom Price. Manager Anth Nelson reports that George McCain is pushing for a place in the attack.
It’s a case of three in and four out for Ashbrooke Belford House, who have been forced to ring the changes throughout the season.
Mark Green, Nathan Burrell and Adam Hopps come into the plans of joint manager Asa Dobbing, but Lee Owens, David Scott, Kevin Humble and Marc Egglestone are all ruled out.
Silksworth CW, boosted by last week’s win at Seaham Red Star Reserves, go to Cumbria for their game at Whitehaven without Adam Storey, Stephen Moody and Andrew Donnelly.
Another absentee is Graeme Pickering, so Dan Lowerson will be in goal. Rob Hall and Stephen Bagshaw are also back for the Wearsiders.
Annfield Plain, smarting from a six-goal blast by West End on Wednesday night, could again find the going difficult at home to Hartlepool, who have their eyes fixed on a top-six finish.
The good news for Pool is that six players come back into the squad.
Mark Guy, John Stephenson, Rhys Tapner, Luke Larkin, Ash Turnbull and Kalon Lloyd are all pressing for starting places. The only absentee is Terry Wilkinson, with an injured ankle.
Second-top Redcar Athletic could promote Liam Fox, Sulaiman Massaquoi, Keiran Stares and Charles Brockbank from the reserves to boost their squad at home to Harton and Westoe.
Regulars Liam Wood, Luke Woodall and Robbie Farrier are also named, but doubts surround James Swann, Joe Ferguson and Lewis Wood.
Prudhoe Town await news on Lee Best and Kevin Moreland before finalising their line-up for the visit of Spennymoor Town Reserves.
The Kimberley Park side have moved out of the re-election zone on the back of some impressive performances in recent weeks.
Murton are the wooden spoonists and Seaham Red Star Reserves, who have completed their programme, end second-bottom.
Wolviston – still with eight games to play – are third-bottom, going into their home fixture with mid-table Richmond Town.
Aidan Cannon will miss the remaining fixtures with a broken ankle, but Wolviston are stronger with the inclusion of defender Nick Robinson, winger Nathan Summersgill and utility player Karl Barry.
Richmond have selection problems, particularly for forwards Scott Ryan and Mark Sims who are feeling the strain playing so many games.
Jason Newall and Michael Elliott are definitely sidelined with back injuries, but Mark Edzes, Sam Bamber Lister and Chris Pattison return.
Boldon CA face the unenviable task of trying to defeat Stockton Town at the fifth attempt.
Having lost the two league fixtures, a quarter-final and a semi-final tie, they have home advantage in the Shipowners’ Cup semi-final (2pm).
Manager Paul Mossa is hoping to come up with a plan to see off the Teesside’s, but his chances are not good since Aaron Burn, Phil Gray and James Pickering are all unable to play.
Stockton, who need only four points to be crowned champions for a fourth consecutive season, miss James Ward, who has turned his attentions to cricket.
Manager Michael Dunwell will probably stick with his young charges including Liam Jordan, who is standing in for goalkeeper Michael Arthur.
Dylan McAvoy, Joe Scaife-Wheatley, Sonni Coleman, Matthew Lovatt and Mark Stonehouse could all feature.