Wearside League: West End hoping against hope for go-ahead as fixture backlog mounts

Sunderland West End have played only 15 games '“ fewer than any other side '“ and will therefore keep their fingers crossed that tomorrow's fixture against Annfield Plain at Ford Quarry goes ahead.

Friday, 15th January 2016, 7:00 am
Snow forced off last month's Murton- Richmod Town game. More postponements are certain for tomorrow

Manager Anth Nelson said: “We’ve still got 23 matches to play, so it’s going to be a hectic end to the season.

“We are fifth and although 13 points behind leaders Redcar Athletic, have seven games in hand.

“We are just eight points adrift of second-top Stockton Town, who have fulfilled two more fixtures than us, so it’s all to play for.”

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Nelson has a near full-strength squad on stand-by, if the game beats the snow, his only absentee being the suspended Stephen Lax.

David Keithley is fully fit and looking to start while Jamie Fryatt, Jordan Cook and Lee Smith are expected to form the midfield.

West End, who have lost only once in 15 games, will stay fifth even if they take all three points from Annfield Plain, but fourth-placed Hartlepool will leap-frog Cleator Moor Celtic if they see off Silksworth CW.

Pool are experiencing their best season in some years and their chances of taking another step up the table are enhanced since they have no injuries or suspensions to contend with.

Silksworth boss Sean Butler will need to assess the fitness of captain Michael McVay, David Stevens and Matthew Gray, who were all injured in last week’s Durham FA Trophy defeat at the hands of Stockton West End.

First-choice goalkeeper Anthony Lowerson returns and midfielder Alan Golightly and striker Stephen Mooney are also expected to start.

Ashbrooke Belford House travel to Prudhoe Town minus suspended pair Adam Hopps and Callum Charlton, but David Scott comes into the plans of assistant manager Asa Dobbing.

Horden CW boss Martin Mulcaster has delayed announcing his plans for the visit of Richmond Town, who have centre-half Mark Edzes ruled out through work commitments. Joe Joyce could make his debut, but Michael Gunnell is away.

There is a local East Durham derby between Murton CW and Seaham Red Star Reserves.

The hosts are bottom with just three points out of a possible 72 and have conceded 110 goals in 24 games.

Red Star, playing in the competition for the first time, are fourth from the basement and 14 points better off than their neighbours.

Spennymoor Town Reserves have home advantage over Harton and Westoe CW at Coxhoe. Manager Carl Beasley misses Mykel Summerson and David Gibson is a doubt.

Three ties are scheduled to be played in the Sunderland Shipowners’ Cup.

In a bid to play the match, Wolviston have moved the fixture with Leam Rangers from waterlogged Metcalfe Park to the 3G surface at Billingham’s Northfield College.

Wolviston have signed central defender Jake Bennett and midfielder Josh Chambers, but club skipper Shaun Gregory will not be risked on the all-weather surface as he recovers from a knee injury.

Leam – who haven’t played since November 28 – are happy with Wolviston’s initiative and hopeful they will at last be back in action.

Stockton Town, aiming to emulate last season’s magnificent achievement when they won the championship and the three domestic cups, defend the Shipowners’ Cup at home to Boldon CA.

The Teessiders cannot name ineligible pair James Crossman or player manager Michael Dunwell, while Michael Arthur remains on the sidelines recovering from an operation.

Leaders Redcar Athletic have home advantage over Cleator Moor Celtic and with a fully-fit squad, are confident they can take another step towards the double.