BISHOP Auckland manager Ian Chandler says that every game is a “must-win” game as he prepares for the visit of his old club Whitley Bay on Saturday.

Chandler faces the club with whom he made a huge impact as a manager with Bishops in second place in the table, four points behind leaders Dunston, and with a top two place the only priority for this season.

“All games are must-win games now,” he said. “We can’t afford to drop points considering that we’re in a three-horse race.

“I know that I had a great time at Whitley Bay and I was warmly welcomed back there last weekend when I went to watch them play, but there will be no sentiment on Saturday. As far as I’m concerned, they’re a road block that needs to be overcome in our quest to get to the top of the table.

“Whether the team that finishes second at the end of the season gets promoted remains to be seen, but there might be a rule somewhere that will allow it to happen.”

Bishops will be missing midfielder Chris Salmon, who has a hamstring injury, while defender Chris Munroe will have a fitness test on an ankle injury.

Bishops will be keeping a close eye on events at Consett, where the third placed club take on league leaders Dunston UTS.

West Auckland go to Hebburn for the second time in a week, after beating them 2-0 in the last 16 of the Vase last Saturday.

Manager Gary Forrest said: “We want to keep the momentum going as we head towards our next Vase game and players need to play for their places.”

Several players are still missing because of injury, but Steven Snaith and Arran Wearmouth, who were both suspended for the Vase game last week, both return.

Shildon are at home to Sunderland RCA, and manager Danny Moore expects to have an unchanged squad as they look for their fifth win out of the last six.

Newton Aycliffe go across to Stockton Town, and include new signing Kevin Carr from Whitley Bay in their side.

Manager Colin Stromsoy said; “We’re playing the league’s form team who have won their last six matches and therefore we know that we couldn’t be playing them at a tougher time. However, we proved against West Auckland what is possible as there is undoubted quality in our squad to cause them problems.”

In the second division, Chester-le-Street have a big six pointer at second placed Thornaby. Chester are currently in third place, eleven points behind their opponents with two games in hand.

Chester have several injury problems, with Owen Henderson and Owen Lancaster both missing, while Kieran Megran, Joe Grant and Kevin Dixon are all struggling.

Manager Colin Wake said; “Thornaby are possibly the most aggressive side we have played this season and we know that we are in for a proper game.”

Northallerton, who are fourth, are at Crook Town.

Kieran McWaters, Andrew Shepherd and Karl Hewitt are all out injured, but Neil Pattinson and Richie Walker should both return.

Crook have won their last four league games, and are in 11th place. Joe Peel and Phil Caley will both have fitness tests, but James Cook is definitely out injured.

Manager Jamie Tunstall said; “It’s a very tough game against a Northallerton side who will want to put right their last couple of results. We’ve been doing well of late, but this will be our biggest test since the turn of the year. We’re confident and looking forward to it.”

Willington need to beat Brandon to keep their slim promotion hopes alive, and they include new striker Jonathan Wright from Heaton Stannington, who has been a prolific scorer for them in several spells.

Manager Rob Lee will choose from 16 players, and said; “It’s a local derby, and will be a difficult game.”

Brandon are currently second bottom of the table, and in midweek chairman Bill Fisher, who has been at the club since 1970, announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the season.

Bottom club Durham City have a very tough away game at league leaders Billingham Town.

City have only won twice all this season in the league, and manager Billy Harper said; “People’s expectations of us getting a result are extremely low, but hopefully we can play wit ha bit more freedom and cause a bit of a shock.”

Several players are on the Durham injured list.

Tow Law are at home to West Allotment, and they are strengthened by the return of six players who were unable to play in the midweek cup tie at West Auckland – Mattie Soulsby, Shaun Vipond, Steve Bowey, Steven Aiston, Matty Pennal, Josh Scott and Jamie-Lee Hayman In the other game, third bottom Esh Winning go to Heaton Stannington.