Northern League Bishop Auckland are looking for an instant improvement when they take on high flying Marske at Heritage Park on Saturday afternoon.

Bishops had a dreadful second half at Penrith on Boxing Day, conceding five goals in the second half on their way to a 6-1 defeat, that leaves them in 14th place in the table.

Manager Colin Myers was furious after the game on Tuesday, and he will probably will make changes, especially as keeper Gareth Young and defender Michael Tait both return to the squad. .

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Marske, meanwhile, are second in the table, and have won seven out of their eight away league games this season.

Shildon are looking for their first win in five league games at home to Newcastle Benfield, a run that has seen them drop to fourth, four points behind the top two.

Shildon drew their last game 1-1 at West Auckland on Boxing Day, and manager Danny Moore said; “I was very pleased with the performance on Boxing Day so hopefully it’s a platform to build on against Benfield, who are very capable of beating anybody in this division.

Defender Dan Groves, midfielder Anthony Peacock and striker Matty Waters are all missing because of injury.

West Auckland, who have drawn their last two matches to drop to sixth, are at home to Washington.

Defender Ross Colquhoun is missing because of injury, but Ben Wood returns to the squad after missing Boxing Day’s draw with Shildon.

Manager Gary Forrest said; “We need to pick up three points in order to stay in the promotion race.”

Washington are second bottom, and have collected only five points on their travels this season.

Newton Aycliffe, who are fifth from bottom, are at Team Northumbria, and they will be at full strength, except for midfielder Sean Tarling who has a broken leg.

Manager Deano Browne said; “Team North is a tough place to go to over the Christmas period but we have confidence in our squad and we believe that we can go anywhere and pick up points. We owe them one for the pasting they gave us earlier in the season.”

Team North won that game at Moore Lane by 2-0, but were much the better team on the day.

In the second division, leaders Northallerton are at Brandon, hoping to maintain their one point lead at the top.

Karl Hewitt, Shaun Hudson, Josh Keogh and Richard Walker all return after injury, while defender Mattie Crossen may require a fitness test.

Manager Darren Trotter said; “It's imperative we keep on winning to maintain our position at the top of the league. I keep saying it but there are no easy games in this league and we have to play to our potential in each and every game to earn the three points and I will take a 1-0 now if that means another victory."

Brandon manager Steve Skinner said; “We’re trying to bed a lot of new lads together that will take time, but in our case we don’t have the time needed.

“This game is a big ask for us, but I know the lads will give everything as the yare improving with every session we have together.”

Second placed Heaton Stannington won on Tuesday, but Northallerton’s game in midweek was postponed.

Tow Law, who are third, are at Chester-le-Street, and manager Steve Murray could make changes following their 3-0 defeat at Willington in midweek, and they include recent signing Darryl Hall from Bishop Auckland in their squad.

Chester, who have won their last four league games, will be missing Danny Hepplewhite, Andrew Clarkson, Aaron Thompson and Conor lyon, but Danny Naylor returns. Manager Colin Wake said; “We are expecting a really tough game against one of the early season favourites, but we are in the middle of a decent set of performances and more importantly, results which have seen us move away from the bottom of the table in recent weeks.”

Crook Town are at fourth bottom Bedlington, hoping to maintain a run of just one defeat in five matches which has taken them to sixth bottom. Defender Ryan Coles is unavailable, while midfielders Callum Johnston and Adam Comby will both have fitness tests.

Manager Chris Lax said; “It’s another six pointer for us, which again we feel that we can win and keep this mini revival going.”

Durham, who are currently sixth in the table on the back of a run of four straight wins, are at Ryton and Crawcrook, and they welcome Jeremy Allen and Ross Simpson back into the squad. Manager Olly Hotchkiss said; “We’re excited to play and hopefully we can continue our good form. It will be a tough place to go to but if we perform like we have been, we will have every chance to get another three points on the board.”

Second bottom Darlington RA badly need the points at home to Hebburn, and they include new signing Max Landau, formerly with Wetherby and Harrogate Town, in their squad.

Willington, whose win over Tow Law in midweek was their sixth on the bounce, are at home to Thornaby, and manager Rob Lee could choose an unchanged side.