Bishop Auckland manager Ian Chandler believes that confidence is coming back to his players despite their recent bad run as they prepare for their local derby against West Auckland on Saturday.

Bishops have fallen away in their last three home games, picking up only one point out of nine, and conceding 14 goals in the process to completely wipe out their title chances.

Their midweek point against Hebburn put them second in the table with five games remaining, one point ahead of Consett.

“Everybody was much improved in midweek, and I can see the confidence coming back,” he said; “We need though to stop giving bad goals away, we seem to be getting punished for every mistake.

“I’ve set the lads a target of three wins out of five, and if we do that, then we can still finish second. And who knows what might happen after that at the end of the season?

Bishops include winger Arran Wearmouth, who was signed earlier in the week for his second spell at the club from West Auckland, in their squad, while keeper Chris Rookes returns in goal, and Kieran Galbraith and Lewis Gibbons to their defence.

West, who drew the reverse fixture 1-1 earlier in the season, are without defenders Ross Colquhoun and Dan Parker as well as striker Nathan Fisher, while midfielder Anth Bell will probably be on the bench.

Manager Gary Forrest said; “We are keen to finish as high as possible. If we hadn’t dropped two points at Hebburn and then against Dunston, I would have been very confident of a top five finish.”

Newton Aycliffe go to third placed Consett, looking for victory to lift them further away from the bottom three.

Manager Colin Stromsoy said; “Consett at home are excellent and sharp, and so we need to be right at it to get a result up there and match their intensity.”

Connor Phelan and Ged Richardson are both missing because of injury.

Consett are level on points with Bishop Auckland but have a worse goal difference with four games remaining.

Shildon are at fourth placed Hebburn, and they are forced to call up several young players because defender Dale Mulligan and midfielder Ben Trotter are both missing, so in terns of senior players, manager Danny Moore is down to eleven players.

In the other games, Dunston could be champions tonight if they beat Guisborough, and Bishop Auckland and Consett both drop points.

In the second division, bottom club Durham City are at second in the table Thornaby. On their last visit to Teesside, Durham defeated league leaders Billingham Town for only their fourth league victory of the season.

They include new signing Marc Bell, but they are still missing several players because of injury.

Manager Billy Harper said; “We are confident that if we play to our potential, we will now give any team in the division a hard game. However, we certainly need to be on it against a really confident title-chasing team like Thornaby.”

Chester-le-Street, who are fourth, are at Willington, and have injury doubts over Michael Hepplewhite, Joe Grant, Callum Greaves, Kevin Dixon and Owen Lancaster.

Manager Colin Wake said; “We expect a response from Willington, given that we beat them a few weeks ago in the cup semi-final, so it will be a difficult game.”

Willington have lost two strikers recently, with Jonathan wright going to Whitley Bay and Matty Moffat back to Tow Law.

Esh Winning can climb further away from the bottom two if they beat Birtley at Waterhouses.

In the other games, leaders Billingham Town are at Heaton Stannington.