Durham manager Billy Harper is hoping that victory over Bedlington on Saturday in the second division will kick start their season.

Durham go into the game at Hall Lane in bottom place of the ENL Second Division, two points behind second bottom Brandon with just one win to their credit all season.

But Harper believes that his team has improved enough in recent matches to start a run towards safety, and said; “I truly believe we go into the game with real expectation to take the points if we take even half the chances that we’ve been creating lately. We are just a whisker away from putting on a big run over the next ten or so games.”

Adam Drummond and Curtis Richardson are both missing, otherwise Harper will have a full squad to choose from. He has signed four new players in the last week – Leigh Guthrie, Aiden Mutch, Florin Craciun and Craig Fullarton.

In the first division, West Auckland face Shildon in their local derby at the Wanted Stadium.

West have won their last three league and cup matches, and manager Gary Forrest, who was previously boss at Shildon, said; “Our priority is to maintain our current momentum and make sure that we are in a position to push for promotion in the last six weeks of the season.”

Striker Nathan Fisher, midfielder Anth Bell and defenders Ross Colquhoun and Mark Ellison are all missing.

Shildon have won their last four, and manager Danny Moore said; “This will be a tough game because West have picked up and have some very good individual players. But we will go there with confidence and give it our all for the three points.”

Midfielder Matty Robson will have a fitness test, but defender Jack Vaulks is injured.

Bishop Auckland are looking for their second win in Ryhope on successive Saturdays. They beat Sunderland RCA last Saturday, and are at Ryhope CW today.

Manager Ian Chandler will give new signing Lee Chapman his debut after signing him in midweek, but Chris Winn, Andrew Johnson, Darren Richardson and Jamie Marshall are all missing, while Calum Munro and Jordan Fielding both return after suspension.

“The win last week has given the squad a slight bit of confidence and we go into the match in good heart and expecting a tough game but hopeful for three points.”

Newton Aycliffe are badly hit by injuries for their away game at second bottom Seaham Red Star.

Kevin Carr, Alan Harrison, Marc Costello, James Oliver and Ross Hutchinson are all missing, but Sam Read returns.

Manager Colin Stromsoy said; “With the injury crisis we have, it will be a very tough game, but we will go into the game with a positive mind set.”

Aycliffe are currently ninth in table with two defeats in seven matches.

Northallerton, who are fourth from bottom, are at Billingham Town, and manager Darren Trotter could make changes from the team that lost 3-0 at Shildon in midweek.

In other first division games, league leaders Hebburn are at home to bottom club Thornaby, while Guisborough are at home to Ashington.

In the second division, fourth placed Willington are hoping to bounce back from last week’s 6-4 defeat at Washington when they go to Newcastle University.

Manager Ibby Hassan is hoping that several injury niggles will have cleared up in time, and said; “Th game is going to be tough. Newcastle Uni play some good football, and we really need to start making an impact away from home. I hope to see us really impose ourselves on a young side and get three points on the road.”

Willington have won just once in five away games this season.

Crook Town, who are in midtable, are at home to second placed West Allotment, and are missing Jake Petitjean, Joey Smith, Arthur Connelly and Kenny Shevels, while Dan Maddison returns.

Manager Jamie Tunstall said; “We face no sterner test than West Allotment, who have blown away all but one of their opponents this season. We haven’t really hit any sort of form so most people won’t be expecting us to get anything from the game. Confidence is a little low at the moment so it’s important that we get the basics right first and foremost. All the players have had chances during a busy period and it’s up to them to nail down places in the team now.”

Chester-le-Street are at home to Billingham Synthonia, and manager Colin Wake has several injury problems to contend with. “A lot of absences again, puts the squad thread bare. After a disappointing performance last week, we can’t wait to get going against Synners, who will be tough as they are mobile and play good football.”

Brandon, fresh from their DCC win on penalties at Ryhope CW in midweek, are at Sunderland West End. Manager Rob Bowron will pick from a full squad, and said; “It’s a big game for both sides in the scramble for points. They are a side used to winning and are very competitive. But we want to build on our outstanding result and defensive showing at Ryhope in midweek. That’s the standard now.”

Esh Winning go to league leaders Redcar Athletic, and they include new striker Channon North, who has been at Ashington and Hebburn in the past, as well as Kieran Day. However, Nick Marley and Barrie Smith will both miss the game.

Tow Law are at Carlisle City, and manager Micky Vasey includes new signings Anthony Lee from Chester-le-Street and Jeff Smith from Whitley Bay in his squad.