Bishop Auckland manager Ian Chandler says that three points are a must when they go to Whickham in the EBAC Northern League today.

Bishops, who haven’t lost in eight league games, go to Tyneside in third place in the table, seven points behind joint leaders Consett and Dunston UTS, and needing victory to keep the pressure on.

“We need to keep our unbeaten run in the league going,” he said. “There’s a lot of excitement around the club at the moment at the way things are going, and we want to keep winning matches.

“We need to finish the season as high as possible, because who knows what might happen at the end of the season in terms of promotion. A top three place might do it.”

Bishops signed Ash Davis, a striker from Seaham who has got plenty of Northern League experience, for their midweek cup tie at Consett, and he will be included in the squad.

West Auckland, who are in fifth place, have a big home game against North Shields, who are a place above them.

Defender Dan Parker, midfielder Anthony Bell and Steven Snaith plus striker Nathan Fisher are all out because of injury, and manager Gary Forrest said; “We’ve only lost two of our last thirteen games despite a long injury list of some exceptional players. The lads are just getting their heads down and trying to win as many games as possible.”

Shildon go to Stockton Town, and they include defender Dale Mulligan, who signed for them from Stockton last month.

Manager Danny Moore said; “We have to build on the improvement over the last couple of weeks.”

Shildon have drawn three and won one of their last five games.

In the other games, Dunston UTS can go clear at the top if they beat Newcastle Benfield, because Consett aren’t playing.

In the second division, Northallerton, who are in third place, go to Esh Winning, whom they beat 6-1 on the opening day of the season.

Defender Dan Jones is missing because of suspension, while Kieran McWaters and Kerry Hedley are both missing because of injury, but Karl Hewitt, Chris Emms and Josh Keogh all return.

Esh, who are fifth bottom, include new defender Nathan Cobain, signed from Washington.

Chester-le-Street, who are fourth and two points behind Northallerton, go to Bedlington whom they beat 2-0 on the opening day of the season.

Chester lost narrowly to South Shields in midweek in the Durham Challenge Cup, and they have injury concerns over Craig Marron, Michael Hepplewhite and Kevin Dixon, but Dominic Laws and Dan Maguire both return.

Manager Colin Wake said; “We played Shields on a really heavy pitch, and we expect the same conditions on Saturday. But we go there with a good squad who are showing signs of improvement in recent weeks.”

The second groundsharing derby of the season between Durham and Willington takes place at Hall Lane.

Durham are bottom of the table, and manager Billy Harper has signed several new players since he took over – which means that the club has registered over 70 this season. Striker Carl Pottinger has an injury problem and could be missing.

“I’m very positive in the lads to give a good account of themselves against a strong team in the league.”

Willington will give a debut to midfielder Kieron Parnaby, signed from Guisborough and who has been with Middlesbrough in the past.

Brandon, who are next to bottom, are at home to West Allotment, and they will be at full strength except for Chris Spence.

In the other games, Tow Law go to Washington, while unbeaten leaders Billingham Town are at Ryton and Crawcrook.