BISHOP Auckland manager Ian Chandler wants his team to start a winning run as they enter the final straight of the season beginning at Hebburn on Saturday.

Bishops are locked in a head-to-head battle for second place with Consett, but they have failed to win any of their last four league matches, the most recent being the reverse fixture against Hebburn at Heritage Park which ended in a 4-4 draw.

“We stopped our losing streak against Hebburn in our last game, and we’re now looking to start a winning run until the end of the season,” said Chandler. “Hebburn at their place will be very tough, but we look forward to games like this.”

Keeper Nick Liversedge and outfield players Chris Salmon and Jamie Marshall are all out, but defenders Lewis Gibbons and Kieran Galbraith both come back into the squad.

Bishops are a point behind Consett with two games in hand and five left to play. But they need to keep an eye now on Stockton Town, who are coming up on the rails in fourth.

Newton Aycliffe, who are sixth from bottom, are at fifth in the table Sunderland RCA.

Gerard Richardson and Conor Phelan both return to the Aycliffe squad, and manager Colin Stromsoy said; “We were exceptionally unlucky in the home game against RCA, losing in the last minute. They are one of the best teams in the Northern League with huge quality throughout, so we’ll have to be better again if we are to get a result against them away.”

West Auckland, who are in mid table, are at fourth bottom Guisborough, and are still without defenders Ross Colquhoun and Dan Parker, and striker Nathan Fisher because of injury.

Manager Gary Forrest said; “We need the three points if we want to finish in the top five.” West are currently seven points below fifth place with five games remaining.

Shildon face North Shields at Dean Street and will go above them into seventh if they win.

Manager Danny Moore will be missing striker Zak Atkinson because of suspension and defender Dale Mulligan because of injury, and said; “We want to keep winning and stay unbeaten over the rest of the season.”

Shildon’s Durham Challenge Cup final against South Shields will take place on Friday 3rd May at the Stadium of Light. Durham FA have said that the date is fixed, even if Shields are involved in the EvoStik League play offs on the same weekend.

In the second division, Northallerton continue their pursuit of third place with an away game at Birtley.

Regular keeper Tom Dawson is unavailable, so new signing Stephen Hubery replaces him, but defender Dan Jones is suspended. Dale Elgie, Karl Hewitt and Richie Walker all return to the squad after missing the midweek win at Brandon.

Chester-le-Street, who dropped to fifth in midweek, have a tough away game at Redcar Athletic, and they have a very depleted squad with nine players unavailable for various reasons.

Manager Colin Wake said; “We’re struggling for numbers, so it will be a tough test against a side who are in good form.”

Crook Town, who have lost just once in their last nine games, can have a big say in the title race at home to second placed Thornaby.

James Cook and Daniel Maddison both return after injury, while Jamie Harwood and Joe Peel will both have fitness tests.

Manager Jamie Tunstall said; “Thornaby have been flying lately, they’re the form team in the division and desperate to keep the pressure on Billingham Town. We’ve not quite been at our fluent best in the last couple of weeks and we’re eager to put that right this weekend. We’ll be up for the game and at home we’ve got every chance of getting something.”

Thornaby will be keeping a close eye on the progress of leaders Billingham Town, who are at home to Easington.

Tow Law, fresh from their 3-1 away victory at Esh Winning in midweek, are at home to Heaton Stannington.

Lawyers are on a run of just two defeats in their last ten matches, and are missing suspended defender David Mitchell, but Nathan Convery and Callum Oldfield both return.

Heaton are in fourth place in the table after beating West Allotment in midweek.

Bottom club Durham City badly need a win at home to Ryton and Crawcrook to have a chance of closing the 19 point gap on third bottom Washington with nine games remaining.

Manager Billy Harper includes new midfielder Jacob Thompson in their squad, and said; “We’ve a pretty strong number of players to pick from for a change, so we go into the game with some belief in getting the result needed.”

In the other games, Willington are at West Allotment, and Brandon are at Washington.