TEAM Northumbria and Spennymoor Town will battle it out at Coach Lane, Benton, today (1pm) for a place in the final of the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup.
Team, who last Saturday were crowned champions of the STL Northern League Second Division, have played three times in five days including Monday’s penalty shoot-out against Newcastle United Reserves at St James’ Park.
“It’s taken its toll and we were off the mark in Wednesday’s Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup tie which Northallerton Town won 3-2,” said manager Paul Johnson.
“It was asking a lot for the players to turn out three times in only five days but I suppose this is what you get with success.”
Spennymoor Town lifted the First Division title for the third successive season when they defeated Dunston UTS 1-0 on Monday. Manager Jason Ainsley watched Team Northumbria in action at Northallerton Town and expects a difficult game.
He said: “They are a very good side and we’ll have to be at the top of our game if we are to qualify for the final.”
Ainsley, whose side has also won the Durham Challenge Cup and the Cleator Cup, reports that both Craig Ruddy and Callum Griffiths are ruled out.
Elsewhere, Hebburn Reyrolle boss Mark Collingwood reckons the Northern Alliance title is Heaton Stannington’s to lose.
“We still have an outside chance of winning the title but as it stands Heaton Stannington hold the advantage,” he said.
With leaders Heaton and fellow challengers Whitley Bay A both in action last night, against Stocksfield and Shankhouse respectively, Reyrolle will however look to maintain the pressure as they take on Blyth Town at the Hebburn Sports Complex with an 11 am kick-off.
Collingwood is expected to make several changes to the staring eleven with the South Tynesiders having another crucial fixture on Monday against Percy Main.
Sean Sweeney, Craig Watson and Dean Patton are all pushing for a starting berth but Ray Oshin and Craig Malley will both miss out due to injury.
Ashington Colliers manager David Brown is hoping to be able to select from a complete squad as they take on Seaton Delaval Amateurs at Hirst Welfare – a dress rehearsal for the forthcoming Kicks Leisure George Dobbins League Cup final.
Callum Morris, Grant Kershaw and Dave Low were all missing from Delaval’s midweek win over Walker Central but boss Mick Jeffels welcomes them back today.
Abubaker Salim is unavailable and Adam Scrope is suspended.
Carlisle City’s Tom Lucock is likely to miss out on their trip to Gateshead Rutherford with a knee injury. Otherwise, the Cumbrians have a fully fit side.
Killingworth Sporting are on the road in the other direction to Harraby CC, who may be a little jaded after being unlucky to go down to an injury-time winner against Carlisle United in the Cumberland Senior Cup final in midweek, and bottom side Murton host Percy Main.
RYHOPE CW, who next season will play in the STL Northern league for the first time in their history, need just one point from their last two games to retain the Wearside League championship for a second consecutive year.
They are odds on favourites to achieve their aim today when they have home advantage over third-from-bottom Kirkbymoorside.
Manager Martin Swales, though, cannot call upon Liam Cox or Dean Arkley and awaits news on the fitness of Chris Trewick before finalising his line up.
Redcar Athletic trail Ryhope CW by two points but the Wearsiders have a vastly-superior goal difference.
Redcar have just one game to play at Jarrow where Billy Millington, Richie Playforth and Greg Booth return but Shaun Taylor and Steve Thompson are sidelined.
Redcar are assured of ending at least runners up but the battle goes on for third place. Stockton Town are currently third top before they visit Ashbrooke Belford House. Jair da Silva and goalkeeper Tim Griffiths come into contention but Gavin Simcox and Tony Johnson are banned.
Ashbrooke Bedford House have rescinded their resignation which, according to manager Tommy Dobbing, was submitted as a precaution. Ashbrooke will be without Paul Robertson, Jake Moan, Alan Young and Lewis Hutchinson for their last three fixtures. Kenny Taylor and Stephen Halliday also miss out but Glen Moan can play.
Coxhoe Athletic sign off at Cleator Moor Celtic where manager Craig Morley has a near full strength squad travelling to Cumbria. His only absentee is Ryan Kiteley through work commitments.