Brandon manager Steve Skinner has told his players to take more responsibility as they battle to stay in the second division, starting at Thornaby today..

Brandon are second bottom of the table without a point in their last eight matches, and Skinner, who took over three games ago, said; “It is very big game after our defeat at Crook in midweek when we were winning at half time. It was a like a horror show, and we had no bottle.

“We took a step back, which was understandable because we’re not used to winning at half time. But that needs to stop and the players need to take responsibility if we are going to stay up.”

Skinner includes new signing Craig Hindmarch in his squad this afternoon, Hindmarch scored on his debut at Brandon in midweek.

In the first division, Shildon are at Ashington, hoping to recover from their home defeat by Jarrow Roofing last week. Defenders Jamie Harwood and Marc Ellison are both missing because of suspension, but Carl Jones, Matty Waters, Billy Greulich-Smith, Anthony Peacock and Matty Robson are all hoping to have recovered from knocks in time.

West Auckland, who are sixth, have a tough away game at Marske United, and they will be missing midfielder Alex Francis, otherwise they will be at full strength.

Marske are currently second in the table, and manager Gary Forrest said; “Marske are on a great run, and they will be a big test for us.”

In the second division, Northallerton are hoping to return to winning ways at home to Heaton Stannington, who are fifth in the table.

Northallerton lost at home to Thornaby in midweek, and they welcome back Richie Walker and Karl Hewitt, while Dan Jones and Andrew Shepherd will both have fitness tests.

“A number of factors will be taken into account before we select a team to win the game," said manager Darren Trotter.

Second placed Tow Law are at home to bottom club Alnwick, and expect to be at full strength. However, the game is subject to an early morning pitch inspection.

Willington, who haven’t lost in their last eleven league and cup matches, are at Whickham, and manager Rob Lee will choose from a full squad.

“It will be a hard game because Whickham are a strong team,” said Lee.

Crook Town, who had a good win over Brandon in midweek, are at home to Chester-le-Street.

Crook, who are 15th, will be missing injured centre halves Matthew Stephenson and Ryan Coles, as well as midfielder Adam Comby and striker Kyle Morris.

“It’s another tough game against a strong outfit, and again another tough game for us,” said manager Chris Lax.

Chester are boosted by the returns of Conor Lyon, Danny Hepplewhite and Lee Mole, but Dan Maguire, Josh King and Kieron Megran are all missing for one reason or another.

Manager Colin Wake said; “We are looking for a response from the players after a poor showing in midweek against Blyth when we never turned up.”

Durham City, who are in ninth place, are hoping to stage their first home game in two months at home to Billingham Town. They will be without Jeremy Allan and Matty Smith, but Steve Malloy and Ross Simpson both return.

Manager Olly Hotchkiss said; “It will be a tough game against a very good side but we are in very good form, and if we can perform in the same way that we have been lately, then hopefully we can get another three points on the board.”

Billingham are level on points with Durham, and have a marginally better goal difference.

Esh Winning, who had a good draw at Heaton Stannington last week, are at home to Easington, and they will be missing six players for various reasons.

Manager Tony Boakes said; “Some of the other lads in the squad have a chance to start and keep the others out of the team.”

Darlington RA, who are third bottom, are at Jarrow, and include midfielder Michael Joseph, signed from Crook Town.