ANTHONY Woodhouse begins his managerial career when relegation-threatened North Shields visit table-topping Whitehaven in the SkilltrainingLtd Northern League Second Division this afternoon.
He could hardly have wished for a tougher baptism but even so is confident he can steer the Robins out of trouble. He said: “Our priority is to avoid relegation and already I’m looking to strengthen the squad.
“If I can get the players I want then rest assured relegation will not be an issue.”
Woodhouse, who has brought in Robbie Livemore as player coach, has paid tribute to his previous club Whitley Bay. “I had a great time at Hillheads and the fans were great but I want to play on a regular basis and going into management is a double opportunity,” he added.
Terry Ritson, who recently took over at Whickham, is pleased to have Linton Smith back in his squad for the home fixture with Washington, especially as Gary Andison is a doubt.
Jarrow Roofing are pleased to name goalkeeper Adam Dowell and Stuart Dixon for their visit to Brandon United while promotion candidates Hordon CW anticipate Mattie Taylor and Paul Atkinson playing at Birtley Town.
Manager Dave Smith is delighted that Tony Thirkerl and Robbie Houghton are in his plans.
Sunderland RCA will hand debuts to Michael Ford and Steve Jones in the home game with Crook Town. Jones, signed from Ryton, previously captained Harrogate Town. A big blow to the Wearsiders though is the news that David Tait could be out for a couple of months with a hamstring injury.
Consett aim to consolidate pole position in Division One when they visit Chester-le-Street, who moved up to sixth from bottom with a midweek victory.
The Cestrians delay naming their squad but the Steelmen definitely miss Gary Ormston and Mark Gaffney. They are hoping that star striker Mattie Moffat will be fit after missing five games.
Karl Patterson will need a late fitness test ahead of Ryton’s game with Spennymoor Town while Morpeth Town have injury doubts surrounding Iain Nickells, Lee Bell and Alex Benjamin at second top Billingham Synthonia who can not call upon David Yale or Nathan Jameson.
At the other end of the table, bottom side Bedlington Terriers expect several players to return for the visit of West Auckland Town. At Filtrona Park, South Shields name Craig Ellison and Graham Ivione against Newcastle Benfield who are also considerably stronger with the inclusion of Scott Emerson, Andy Dugdale and Alu Bangura.
Dunston Federation expect to have Michael Robson returning to a full-strength line-up at Billingham Town who have re-signed former player Andrew Burton from Whitby Town and Luis Whensley from Shildon. Skipper Paul Hutchinson is banned and manager Andy Gowens awaits news on the fitness of Alan Hogg and Paul Dunn ahead of the visit of Northallerton Town to Woodhorn Lane to face Ashington.
Andy Johnson and Phil McGuire are doubts for Tow Law Town at Bishop Auckland who are pleased to have leading scorer Gavin Parkin back especially as Scott Richards is banned.
Whitley Bay, now in the bottom half of the table, can not include Lee Picton against Penrith at Hillheads but recent signing Bruce Hogg is in the squad.
West Allotment Celtic, in fourth position, are at Shildon where they will give late fitness tests to Rob Storey and Marc Walmsley.