West End geared up for tough derby showdown

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SUNDERLAND West End aim to continue their good form when they line up against Ashbrooke Belford House in tonight’s Wearside League game at Silksworth, writes MALCOLM PRATT.

But despite being in eighth position and a healthy 15 points ahead of their opponents, joint manager David Bond expects a really tough game.

He said: “It’s a local derby and we all know anything can happen in these games. The form book is often thrown out of the window.

“We are on a good run, though, and I was delighted at our performance against Darlington Cleveland Bridge at the weekend (when West End finished impressive 5-1 winners).

“If we repeat the form we showed there, we’ll be in with a good chance.”

West End’s only definite absentee is David Keithley, who is working, although Stephen Bogie will need his fitness assessed just before kick-off. Scott Young and Andrew Gartland return.

Belford boss Tommy Dobbing is forced into fielding a severely weakened side. “We have a very long injury list and, to compound our problems, Glen Moan, Stephen Halliday and Stephen Dickinson are working,” he said.

“We are really struggling for numbers tonight, but I know the lads will give it their best shot,” reported Dobbing.

After winning for only the second time at the weekend, Coxhoe Athletic will move off the bottom if they win at Peterlee Town.

Christian Holliday, Craig Ferguson, Darren Griffiths and Simon Ord all come into contention for Coxhoe, who have doubts surrounding Trevor Tearney and Dan Petts.

Leam Rangers take a big squad to Cleator Moor, with Steven Wood free from suspension, though Leon Kane is banned.

There is only one game in the STL Northern League, with Horden CW visiting Darlington RA in Division Two.

Manager Brian Honour was “over the moon” with his team’s winning performance at Whitehaven which lifted them off the bottom for the first time in several weeks.

“Psychologically, it has done the lads a world of good,” he said. “And I think they will play with added confidence tonight.

“We’ve only lost one of our last five games and I can definitely see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Michael Joseph (hamstring) and Stephen Jackson (work) cannot play, but Gordon Lavery, Andrew Summerbell and Ian Tumilty come into Honour’s plans.