WEST Auckland are badly hit by injuries for their away game at North Shields on Saturday – but manager Gary Forrest is still optimistic of a good result.

Defenders Ross Colquhoun and Paul Heggarty, midfielders Tom Portas, Anthony Bell and Arran Wearmouth, plus striker Amar Purewal are all out injured, and their absences are stretching the West squad to its limit.

Victory today though will lift West over their opponents and possibly into fifth place in the table, and manager Gary Forrest said; “It will be a tough ask with all the injuries we have, but we are playing well, we just need to be more clinical.”

West had a good win over Ryhope CW in the Durham Challenge Cup, and last Saturday drew 2-2 at Ashington in the league.

Newton Aycliffe have their biggest test yet this season when league leaders Consett visit Moore Lane.

Consett have lost only once this season in eleven league matches, and in midweek put ten past Silksworth in the Durham Challenge Cup.

Aycliffe manager Deano Browne said; “We’re looking forward to testing ourselves against the league leaders. We are confident after two wins, but we know that Consett are a good team and will be coming to take three points.”

Aycliffe have hit goalscoring form themselves, with eight goals in their last two matches against Hebburn and Durham City, and they include midfielder Ethan Wood, just signed from Easington, in their squad, with the possibility of another new signing before the game.

Elsewhere in the first division, Dunston UTS return to league action after their FA cup exploits when they take their unbeaten league record to Guisborough.

Stockton Town, who are fifth, are at home to Ryhope CW, while there is a Northumberland derby between Whitley Bay and Ashington.

Bottom club Penrith are looking for their first win of the season over Seaham Red Star, who have signed several new players recently, one of them former Darlington player Adam Rundle.

Meanwhile Bishop Auckland, who are without a game today, have placed defender Niall McGoldrick on the transfer list.

In the second division, Northallerton, who are in fifth, go to league newcomers Redcar looking for their third successive win.

Midfielder Ste Cheeseman is missing because of injury, otherwise they will be at full strength. Redcar will include former Northallerton player Chris Dickinson in their squad.

Willington climbed up to seventh in midweek when they won at Washington, and they’re away to second in the table Chester-le-Street.

They’ll be missing Matty Moffat, Andrew Taylor and Graham Lazonby, and manager Rob Lee said; “We expect a hard game with Chester sitting near the top of the league.”

Chester are currently in second place but could go top if they win and unbeaten leaders Billingham Town fail to beat Heaton Stannington.

Manager Colin Wake said; “Willington are finding a bit of form but we have recovered from our recent dip so it should be a good game.”

Craig Marron, Kevin Dixon and Kieron Megran will all be missing.

Brandon, who are unbeaten in their last four league games to climb off the bottom of the table, are at Billingham Synthonia.

Chris Spence and Joe Joyce are both very doubtful with ankle injuries, while Dan Quine and Craig Hindmarch both return to the squad.

Brandon are two points behind third bottom Esh Winning, who are at Birtley. Esh include new signing Daniel Hayles, signed from Newcastle Benfield.

In the other games, unbeaten league leaders Billingham Town, who are unbeaten in twelve league matches, are at home to Heaton Stannington, who have won their last six.