Sunderland face Leeds at the second attempt

First published in Sport

FA Women’s Premier League A SECOND attempt will be made on Sunday to play the crunch National Division clash between Leeds and Sunderland after last Sunday’s (January 20) postponement.

Whether the pitch at Leeds’ usual home venue, Farsley Celtic’s Throstle Nest, has thawed sufficiently to allow the game to take place remains in doubt.

A second cancellation would leave the top two from last season still to meet in league fixtures this term, with FA and League Cup ties taking priority in coming weeks.

Newcastle United are also awaiting news from scheduled Northern Division opponents Derby County to see if their home venue, Borrowash Victoria’s Watkinson Construction Bowl, is playable, after last week’s cancellation.

Derby sit second bottom of the division, but announced this week that they plan to apply for a place in the expanded FA Super League, in 2014.

A second division is to be added from next year and interest is guaranteed from both Sunderland and Newcastle, who were turned down by the FA when the original eight side selection was made for the inaugural Super League, when it began in 2011.

Sunderland were particularly dismayed at the decision, having finished fifth in the last Premier League which included the sides now in the Super League.

Northern Combination AMBITIOUS title challengers South Durham and Cestria have announced the appointment of Andy Cook as first team coach.

Other than Middlesbrough’s Gemma Grainger, Cook is the only UEFA ‘A’ licence-holding coach in the women’s game in the region.

Having spent time assisting in the coaching of the Arsenal Ladies’ reserve side, he has a good pedigree.

Cook returned to the region to take up a post at Teesside University after it won FA Academy status and was the ideal choice of South Durham to work alongside first team manager Lee Sanders.

A delighted Sanders said all involved seem happy at the arrangement.

“We’ve been looking for someone with an ‘A’ licence and we had a meeting with him, to give him a vision of what we want to achieve.

“He came and had a look at our young players and was quite excited at the talented team he’ll be working with.

“It’s a massive achievement for the club and will hopefully help us move to the next level.”

The club, based at Darlington RA’s Brinkburn Road ground, was the result of a merger of the South Durham Royals side with the highly successful Cestria girls side from Chester-le-Street.

So far the amalgamation has proved successful, as they lie second in the combination, just three points behind leaders Chorley, whose only league defeat was to South Durham and Cestria, 4-2 in October.

SD&C were to have hosted lowly Wakefield at Brinkburn Road on Sunday in the combination, but the outstanding Durham County Cup quarter-final tie, at Chester-le- Street, which was postponed last Sunday, takes priority.

It may well be cancelled for a second week as Moor Park may be still unplayable following the recent snow falls.

The other combination side in the region, Middlesbrough, are scheduled to host bottom club Stockport, at Thornaby tomorrow, but, again, the conditions may intervene.

Should it get the go-ahead it would be the last Boro game prior to their much-anticipated FA Cup third round tie, at home to Sunderland, on February 3.

North-East Regional League COUNTY CUP ties, many postponed in last weekend’s wipe-out, still take precedence, restricting the fixture list for a second successive Sunday tomorrow.

The only Premier Division fixture left intact is York City’s home match with Castleford White Rose, at York College.

But there is a much fuller Northern Division card, with the top two sides, Teesside duo Norton & Stockton Ancients and Redcar Athletic due to meet at Station Road.

There is also the return Durham ‘derby’ with fourth-placed Durham Wildcats due to host lowly neighbours Durham City at Maiden Castle tomorrow.

Wildcats survived a scare in the earlier league clash between the sides, coming from behind to beat City 4-2, at the Riverside, in October.

Tomorrow’s other two scheduled fixtures in the division are California v Tynedale, at South Bank, and Birtley Town v Lowick United, at Durham Road.

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