Shildon include new striker Dean Thexton when they continue their promotion campaign at home to Whickham on Saturday afternoon.

Thexton has been a prolific scorer at neighbours Newton Aycliffe, and has scored 19 league goals this season, and he will probably partner Billy Greulich-Smith, who has scored 20 himself.

Shildon manager Danny Moore said; “We only had Billy and Zak Atkinson as strikers, so we’ve been a bit light in that area. We’ve got two of the leading scorers in the league, we must make sure that we use them.

“We must make sure that we win today. Hebburn, Stockton Town and Consett are all playing in the Vase, so it’s a good chance to make up ground on them.

Shildon are third in the table, six points ahead of Consett, who have a game in hand on them. Whickham, meanwhile, are second bottom of the table.

Newton Aycliffe, who are in sixth place, are at home to Billingham Town, who are a point behind them.

Aycliffe moved to replace Dean Thexton with Adam Burnicle from West Auckland, and manager Colin Stromsoy said; “Adam fits the mould of player whom we like to have at Aycliffe.

“Unfortunately we have big players out at the moment, but other lads have stepped up time and again this season which is why we are sixth in the league, and we’ll do the same again today.”

Midfielder Shaun Ryder and defender Sam Read are both missing because of injury.

Bishop Auckland are at Ashington, and could go sixth in the table if Newton Aycliffe lose.

Defender Liam Potter and striker Chris Winn are both missing because of injury, and manager Ian Chandler said; “Our aim is to finish as high as possible and Saturday is another game in which we need to dig deep and get the three points from.

“We need to finish the many chances being created and take some pressure of the back four.”

Ashington lost 5-1 at Sunderland RCA in midweek, and are fifth bottom of the table.

In the second division, Crook Town are hoping to put their promotion campaign back on track when they travel to Carlisle City, with whom they drew 2-2 last month.

Crook lost at home to Tow Law in midweek to remain four points behind the promotion places, and manager Jamie Tunstall said; “When we played Carlisle a couple of weeks ago, the game was not without controversy. We’ll head over there wanting to take three points which we felt we deserved from the home game. Carlisle are a good side though and caused us some problems at their place.”

Esh Winning, who have won their last five matches to climb up to sixth from bottom, are hoping to continue their revival at Heaton Stannington.

However, their top scorer Channon North is ruled out, along with Scott Arnott, Nick Marley, Callum Boakes, Matthew Allison and Matty Soulsby.

Manager Tony Boakes said; “It’s a great chance for players to keep their places in the team.”

Chester-le-Street are away to third placed Ryton and Crawcrook , and they will be missing four players because of injury, while brothers Michael and Daniel Hepplewhite are both doubtful, but Max Coombes and Luke Collins both return from holiday.

Manager Colin Wake said; “Ryton gave us a real lesson earlier in the season so we will have to be at it defensively if we want to get anything from the game. They have had a good season so far and have a settled system and good squad, so we are in for a battle.”

Tow Law, who had a good win at Crook in midweek, have a local derby at home to Willington, who are playing their second game inside 48 hours.

Second bottom Durham City have a very tough game at home to West Allotment. Leigh Guthrie, Allan Mullholland, James Byrne and Liam Clark are all missing, while Fammara Jetta and Dimitri Keyi have both left for Wearside League club Wolviston.

Bottom of the table Brandon have a big game at home to fifth bottom Birtley.