Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Skilltrainingltd Northern League

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Skilltrainingltd Northern League

Article excerpt

IN-FORM Whitley Bay will move into second place in the Skilltrainingltd Northern League First Division if they take at least a point at Billingham Town.

Following an uncertain start to the season the Seasiders have hit top form which has not only seen them surge up the table but also earned them an attractive home tie with Stratford Town in the last 16 of the FA Carlsberg Vase.

"We've really been unsung for two or three months now and these are exciting times at Hillheads," said manager Ian Chandler. "Despite being down to a bare 11 players on Tuesday we were still good enough to beat Ryton who are a decent side.

"We are now fighting on two fronts since we are in with a shout for the championship and obviously we want to go one better than last year and reach the Vase final."

Chandler, though, has a big headache ahead of the trip to Teesside and it may well be he will have to bring in young reserves to boost a threadbare squad.

Damon Robson, Darren Timmons, David Coulson and Bruce Hogg all picked up injuries at Ryton while Chris Reid and Lee Kerr have flu.

Additionally, the availability of Phil Bell and Andy Hay is doubtful but despite having a selection headache, Chandler is confident the Seasiders can maintain their excellent form.

Following a disappointing performance last weekend when they only just scraped a draw at bottom of the table Bishop Auckland, Consett need a winning result at home to Shildon as they attempt to lead the field.

"On reflection, it was a point gained rather than two lost last weekend and we were lucky to get something out of the game," said manager Kenny Lindoe who can not call upon the injured Mark Gaffney.

"We've only played three times in six weeks and there's no doubt it's had an effect on the players."

Morpeth Town, who have played fewer games than most sides because Craik Park has been waterlogged several times, are desperate for their fixture at Penrith to go ahead.

Manager Jon King arranged a midweek friendly with Washington in an effort to give his players a competitive edge. …

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