Newton Aycliffe manager Colin Stromsoy says that he has “absolute confidence” in his team to come through their sticky patch, beginning today against Thornaby.

Aycliffe lost their first two games this month and have suffered several injuries which has seen them drop down to seventh in the table, eight points behind the promotion spots.

Top scorer Dean Thexton and Aaron Brown are both doubtful for the game against the second bottom club, while five others are out injured.

“There have been huge injury problems and catastrophic bad luck so far this month for us,” said Stromsoy.

“Fortunately, we have an excellent squad, and this presents an opportunity for some of our players who haven’t had a chance to show their capabilities.

“There is massive character throughout the team, and I have absolute confidence we’ll se that through the tough period we’re currently experiencing.”

Thornaby are second bottom of the table after losing their last two league matches.

Shildon can strengthen their grip on second place if they beat sixth placed North Shields at Dean Street.

Manager Danny Moore said; “It’s another big game, and if we can win or draw, then that will keep the pressure on teams around us. The lads are full of confidence, but they mustn’t get carried away.”

However, top scorer Billy Greulich-Smith is out because of a foot injury.

Bishop Auckland can push themselves into the fringe of the promotion race if they can win at Hebburn. Bishops are currently eighth in the table.

Manager Ian Chandler said; “Hebburn seem to be having a blip at the moment, but to be honest it's really only our team I am concerned about, if we play to our best then we will give anyone a good game.”

Chandler includes new signing Connor Campbell from Hartlepool in his squad, plus Jamie Marshall also returns after injury.

Hebburn have lost their last four league matches, a run which has seen them slip down to third in the table.

West Auckland are at home to Guisborough, and manager Gary Forrest could keep the same team that drew last week at Newcastle Benfield.

Northallerton, who are bottom of the table, are at Sunderland RCA, and manager Darren Trotter could make changes to the team that were thumped 8-0 by Marske in the North Riding Senior Cup in midweek.

In the second division Crook Town are at Heaton Stannington, hoping to keep the pressure on the other teams around them in the promotion race.

Defenders Dan Maddison and Chris Dunwell are both missing, so Arthur Connelly returns to the squad.

Manager Jamie Tunstall said; “Heaton beat us comfortably earlier in the season and on their day are as good as anybody, so we have to perform at our best to be able to get something from the game.

“They’ll be desperate for the points, but we’re in a good run of form so the pressure is off us slightly. We’ll be going up there in a positive mood hoping to take the points and continue our run.”

Crook have won their last six matches to put them into a battle for third with Ryton and Carlisle City.

Willington, who have had two excellent wins in their last two matches against promotion chasing clubs, are at Birtley.

Manager Ibby Hassan said; “Birtley are currently not on the nest of runs but are a dangerous side. We beat them earlier in the season, but I expect this to be a real battle as they look to find some form again. We have the ability to beat any side in this division providing we approach it with the same attitude as we have done for the last four matches.”

Kyle Wren is the only player missing for Willington.

Chester-le-Street, who have just signed Joe Blackbourne from Heaton Stannington and youngster Lee Thomas, are at Sunderland West End.

Chester lost 4-0 to Heaton Stannington last time out, and manager Colin Wake said; “We go to West Ed looking for revenge after they beat us early in the season quite comfortably. We have to become more consistent if we want to be competitive at the right end of the table going into the second half of the season, and hopefully this starts Saturday.”

Chester have several players missing; Craig Marron, Keir MacDougall, Owen Henderson and Bailey Prudhoe.

Tow Law are at home to Jarrow and looking for a much-improved performance than their last league game against Esh Winning, which they lost. They easily beat Brandon in the midweek Ernest Armstrong Cup.

Manager Micky Vasey said; “It was a disappointing result last week, and we want to bounce back on Saturday.” He could include a new signing.

Esh Winning can move further away from the relegation zone if they beat bottom club Brandon at Waterhouses.

Esh have won their last two matches against Tow Law and Bedlington to go in points clear of the bottom two, and manager Tony Boakes said; “This is a massively important league game which should be a very good competitive game.”

Matty Allison, Nick Marley, Channon North and Alan Pegram are all unavailable, but Jay McLean, who scored a hat trick in midweek, will probably start.

Managerless Durham City take on second placed Redcar, looking for only their third league win of the season.

Washington’s home game with Bedlington will kick off at 2pm because of the floodlight problems at New Ferens Park. Around half of the floodlights aren’t working.

In the BetVictor NPL Premier Division, Morpeth are at Grantham, and Whitby are at home to Bamber Bridge.

In the BetVictor North West League, Marske are at home to Mossley, and Dunston face Kendal.