Newton Aycliffe are hoping to climb back into the promotion race when they go to second bottom Whickham on Saturday.

Aycliffe have dropped down to eighth in recent weeks because of postponed matches and four defeats in six matches, and manager Colin Stromsoy said; “We have a lot of injuries, so it’s a great chance for the younger players to step in again and prove how good they can be. The squad is highly motivated to do well and respond positively to a lot of setbacks in December.”

Shaun Ryder, Sam Read, Nick Green and Liam Jarvie are all injured, while Liam McNamara is doubtful.

Third placed Shildon, who are five points ahead of North Shields in fourth, are at Thornaby.

The Railwaymen have won seven out of the last eight, and manager Danny Moore said; “We have to respect Thornaby. They are a good team and I’m expecting a tough game.” Moore expects to have a full squad.

Thornaby’s fortunes have nosedived in recent weeks, they have lost their last six matches.

Bishop Auckland are hoping to bounce back from their home defeat by West Auckland last week when they face Penrith at Heritage Park.

Manager Ian Chandler said; “I’ve given the lads a target of nine points from the next three games, and if we do that, you never know what might happen at the end of the season.”

Bishops also play Thornaby and Ashington. Defender Tom Bott is missing because of suspension.

West Auckland, who are seventh, are at Ryhope CW, and hoping to continue their unbeaten run in league and cup to eight.

Manager Gary Forrest has a couple of injuries to contend with.

Bottom club Northallerton, who haven’t won in the league since early November, are at home to Consett, who are pushing for the promotion places.

Midfielder Andrew Shepherd is missing because of suspension for his dismissal at Guisborough last Saturday.

Northallerton lost at Consett on the opening day of the season.

In the second division, Crook Town are hoping to regain the winning habit at home to Sunderland West End.

Crook dropped two points last week against Carlisle City to stay fourth, three points behind Ryton.

Manager Jamie Tunstall said; “the lads are in a great run of form and competition for places is as strong as ever. West End are a good team and we had to be at our best when we played them at their place to take the points.

“We’ll have to be somewhere near again if we want to win the game. We’re hoping we can keep the good run going and keep the pressure on the teams around us.”

Crook haven’t lost any of their last eight league games and will be at full strength.

Willington take on Durham City in the Hall Lane groundshare derby.

Willington manager Ibby Hassan said;” Durham have had a difficult year at times, but with new management and new players they will be a very different prospect to the team we played a few weeks ago.

“Provided that we approach the game with the right attitude and desire, it’s a game to bring local bragging rights at the end of the game.”

Winger Craig Ruddy will have a fitness test, otherwise they will be at full strength.

Durham, with new manager Michael Young in charge, are looking for only their third win of the season, and are six points behind third bottom Washington.

Chester-le-Street face Carlisle City, looking to climb into the top eight of the table.

Michael Hepplewhite and James Connor both return to the squad, but Luke Collins, Jak Mitchell and Alexander Walker are missing.

Manager Colin Wake said; “Hopefully we will start the better than the last time out when it took us 45 minutes to get going. We will look to freshen the side up because we play Carlisle again next week in the Ernest Armstrong Cup.

“Consistency is lacking in both team and individual performance so that is what we are looking to improve on Saturday.”

Tow Law, who are sixth from bottom go to Birtley, and manager Micky Vasey will have a full squad to choose from, except for Adam Knowles.

Esh Winning can take a big step away from the bottom three by beating third bottom Washington at Waterhouses.

Bottom club Brandon have a tough away game at Jarrow, to whom they lost 5-1 on the opening day of the season.

The game of the day in the division is the top of the table clash between leaders West Allotment and second placed Redcar.