Ashbrooke need match on as backlog looms

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AFTER another blank weekend due to the weather, Sunderland will be hoping their luck changes by Saturday in order to play their first league game since January 4.

This week’s Durham and Northumberland Division Two fixture against Wallsend fell victim to the weather last month and another postponement would see Sunderland’s promotion hopes hit by severe fixture congestion towards the back end of the campaign.

Sunderland will be without a number of first-team regulars for what was scheduled to be a blank weekend, but still manage to name a strong line up.

Among the absentees are Peter Carter and Alan Ross in the pack, with Michael Heffernan and Matt Goforth missing from the backs.

Chris Geehan slots into the front row, while John Drummond fills the second row spot vacated by Carter, with Andy Sumner selected at blind side flanker.

In the backs, the absence of Goforth and Heffernan forces a minor reshuffle, with Ian Dobson coming in at fly-half nd Tom Townend moving to outside centre. Sammy Vaughan fills in for Heffernan at full-back, with Dan Abraham making a timely recovery from injury to line up on the wing.

Sunderland I (away to Wallsend, meet 12.20pm, KO 2.15pm): Martinez, Harrison, Geehan, Belfield, Drummond, Sumner, Finlay, Watt, Stirling, Dobson, Arkley, Levison, Townend, Abraham, Vaughan. Reps: Buckley, Wordsworth, Garvie

H Durham City host Ponteland in Division One on Saturday, while Seaham entertain Yarm in Division Three and Houghton welcome Jarrovians to Dairy Lane.