West Auckland manager Gary Forrest believes that his team can pass another tough test when they go to North Shields in the EBAC Northern League on Saturday.

West go into the game on the back of some excellent away form, with six wins from nine away league games, and a great 3-0 win last week at Chorlton and West Didsbury in the Vase.

They’re currently sixth in the table, six points and three places behind today’s opponents, to whom they lost at home earlier in the season.

“It’s a real tough test but we are getting used to them as we have played North Shields, Marske, Morpeth, Dunston and Whitley Bay in our last six league games. We need to build on our current form,” he said.

Forrest will be without midfielder Alex Francis for definite, while striker Amar Purewal will have a fitness test.

Bishop Auckland take on Stockton Town at Heritage Park in the first ever league game between the two.

Stockton are unbeaten in their last eight league and cup matches, and have climbed steadily up the table to 14th, five places above Bishops.

Bishops are without defenders Iby Hassan and Matty Lovegreen because of suspension and injury respectively, but another defender Darryl Hall, will return after injury.

Shildon, who are in fourth, are at home to Washington, and hoping to improve on their home form, which has seen them win only three times in eight league games. Defender Jamie Harwood is out because of suspension.

Washington, who are second bottom, have yet to win an away game this season.

Newton Aycliffe, who are 15th go to Whitley Bay, and they include new signing Paul Kane and midfielder Ben Trotter who were both cuptied in midweek, but Dan Mitton, Jamie Davis and Liam Browne are all missing.

“This will be another tough trip against a team who like to try and play, but we have played well away from home in the last couple of weeks and are confident that we can carry on our good form,” said manager Deano Browne. Whitley have lost just once at home this season.

In the second division, new Crook Town manager Chris Lax takes charge of his first home game against Esh Winning, who are having their best season for some years.

Forward Christian Holliday and winger Isam Mohamed both return to the Crook squad, but midfielder Max Whitehead and defender Ryan Coles are both missing.

“Even though we lost in the last minute against West Auckland in midweek, the signs are very promising that we are getting it together, even though I’ve only seen the lads in two matches,” said Lax. “This will be a tough game, but we’re capable of getting the three points.”

Crook have won only twice at home this season, and are currently fourth bottom of the table, just a point above the relegation zone.

Esh are hoping to include at least one new signing, and manager Tony Boakes said; “This will be a hard game, because Crook will be trying to impress their new manager.”

Scott Arnott, Callum Boakes, Nick Marley and Gavin Brown are all probably missing.

Third placed Tow Law, who have lost just once in the league this season, have a tough away game at Blyth AFC, who are in sixth place six points behind Lawyers.

Adam Knowles and Simon Ord are both added to the squad that pulled off a shock last week in the Vase against Bridlington. Blyth have a new management team in Jon McDonald and Ian Skinner, who were appointed last week.

Northallerton, who are second and a point behind leaders Hebburn, are at Bedlington, and they could have as many as six players back in their squad after missing recent games for various reasons, while manager Darren Trotter has also signed utility player Stuart Browne from Redcar Athletic.

Willington, who are 13th, are at Easington, and they will welcome back Lewis Milner, Evann Graham and Connor Lowes, but Lewis Graham will be missing.

Sixth bottom Durham City are hoping to build on their battling performance against Shildon in midweek when they play Thornaby at Hall Lane.

Nick Allen and Nathan Armin both return, but Joe Joyce, Kieran Harnett and Ross Simpson are all unavailable.

Manager Olly Hotchkiss said; “We need a reaction from last Saturday’s defeat against Esh Winning, but I was pleased with the performance against Shildon in midweek. If we replicate the cup performance we will be ok but we must show that character to get the points.”

City are looking for their second home win of the season.

Chester-le-Street go to fourth Heaton Stannington, who have yet to lose at home this season, and they will be missing Kieran Megran, Aaron Reynolds, Aaron Thompson, Craig Marron and Josh King for various reasons.

Manager Colin Wake said; “After a good resolute performance in midweek, we go into Saturday’s game with a little more confidence against a side in the top three. Heaton will put us under pressure with their intensity, but our young lads are improving week in week out, and we hope to give another good account of ourselves on Saturday.”

Brandon, with Chris Blakelock in temporary charge following the resignation of Lee Jewitt, are at home to bottom club Alnwick, their second game in 48 hours.

Alnwick have picked up only two points from eight away league games this season.