Bishop Auckland manager Brian Honour is adamant his team won't struggle in the UniBond Premier Division this season.

Bishops make the long journey to Leek Town today and, according to some bookmakers, are favourites for the drop.

But Honour said: "People are writing us off before a ball is kicked, because we were promoted through the back door last season.

"But our record was pretty good against the teams who finished above us in the league, and instead we struggled against the teams below us last season. And we also beat three teams from the Premier Division in the League Cup.

"We're in a much better position squad wise than we were last season - we're aiming for halfway."

Honour could give debuts to as many as six new players, but another, defender David McGurk from Darlington, is struggling with a back injury.

Spennymoor begin life under Tony Lee for the third time when they face Wakefield-Emley at the Brewery Field.

Lee and coach Graham Clark have already held a couple of training sessions with the squad, and even though owner Benny Mottram has brought in almost a full team of new players throughout the summer, Lee said: "I think we still need two or three players which will make us into a better side, but in the meantime we need to get to know the players again."

The signings continued yesterday, when Moors acquired striker Scott Emerson, who has played for York and Carlisle.

But Lee's attention will also be focused on other matters.

"We need to get a few things right off the field," he said.

Lee has control of all footballing matters.

Gateshead, in severe financial trouble, have told the league that they intend to fulfil their fixtures and they start at Hyde United, while Whitby have a long trip, away to Lincoln United.

* Early-season Wearside League pace-setters Darlington RA, who have won all four games, turn their attentions to the Wearside League Cup when they visit another of the in-form sides Jarrow.

Manager Dave Woodcock is without Martin Brown, Stephen Sinclair, Andrew Singlewood and Paul Freary, but James Chapman and Mark Brookes resume.

"We have made an excellent start but it will not be easy at Jarrow who are also unbeaten, but we are confident that we can make it five wins out of five," enthused secretary Martyn Jackson.

Boldon CA host Sport Catterick with Andrew Whalley and Keith Mason suspended. Mark Harrison is injured and a doubt surrounds the availability of Mark Watso. Stuart Patterson and Michael Meek resume.

In the League, newcomers Coxhoe have the opportunity to close in on pole position when they play Harton and Westoe.

Harton and Westoe have signed Andrew Hunter and Keith McRitchie but skipper Anthony Kent has a calf injury.

Shotton Comrades scored eight times in midweek but could find it a lot more difficult at Stokesley SC where they cannot call upon Lee Beaston or Stephen Ferguson,

Wolviston have five players suspended for the visit of Cleadon SC. Ryhope CW visit Cleator Moor Celtic minus Michael Burlinson, Alan Surtees, Carl Robb and Liam Routledge. Recent signing Paul Frame could make his debut but Paul Hamilton is an injury doubt.