Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ebac Northern League

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ebac Northern League

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK SMITH

NEUTRAL observers predicted Bedlington Terriers' early-season success wouldn't last - but there's no sign of the bubble bursting at Doctor Pitt Welfare Park.

Ahead of today's Ebac Northern League First Division game against Sunderland RCA, Ian Skinner's side sit proudly second, just a point behind West Auckland Town.

Skinner, who took over the reins during the summer, is looking for his team to again make home advantage count.

He said: "We've won our last five games at home, scoring 20 goals and conceding only two, so we go into the game full of confidence. I will remind the lads though not to take anything for granted."

A blow for Terriers is Craig Hindmarsh will be out for at least another six weeks after a knee operation; Scott Blandford's Achilles injury is also a cause for concern.

Since appointing Martin Swales as manager, Sunderland RCA's form has looked up but they've won just one and were beaten by North Shields in midweek.

Swales expects Gavin Barton and Tony Coe back to strengthen his side which is only just off the bottom.

West Auckland Town should maintain pole position by defeating basement side Crook Town but third-top Marske United could find the going difficult against rejuvenated Newcastle Benfield.

Since returning as manager a little over a week ago, Steve Bowey has enjoyed two wins and seen his side score eight times. With a full pool of players on standby, he's confident of making it a hat-trick.

North Shields, like Bedlington, continue to confound the critics and look genuine contenders in title race. They are fourth going into their fixture at Penrith and confidence is high after three consecutive 3-0 victories. The Robins have conceded only 11 goals in 13 games.

Manager Graham Fenton must field an under-strength side with captain Kevin Hughes, leading scorer Gareth Bainbridge, Adam Forster and Stuart Donaldson out. Michael McKeown made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in Wednesday's game and he is named along with the returning Peter Glen-Ravenhill. …

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