By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe are sweating on the fitness of winger Danny Lambert ahead of their trip to Newcastle Benfield at the weekend.
The former Darlington and Marske speedster went off with a hamstring injury during the Brooks Mileson League Cup defeat on Tuesday night and is a doubt as the Newtonians return to league action.
He joins fellow winger Kris Hughes and Tom Hinchley, who are sidelined with the same complaint, battling for fitness.
Allan Oliver will be boosted by the return of Sean Tarling, Darren Craddock and Scott Pocklington, after the influential trio missed the midweek cup exit due to other commitments. They will all return to the starting line-up as Aycliffe look to climb out the relegation zone.
Aycliffe have won just one league game this season, but after getting the victory over Marske, running Darlington close and knocking Willington out of the FA Vase, hopes are high the club can go on a run in the first division and escape the bottom of the table.
Newcastle Benfield sit four points above the Royal Blues in the table, but have yet to pick up a point in their two home league games. They have lost their last three outings and haven’t won in their last four.
Guisborough handed them a 1-0 defeat, before both Spennymoor and Billingham Synthonia handed Benfield a 2-0 defeat at Sam Smith’s Park.
Last year Aycliffe needed a Dale Jardine equaliser to pick up a point, despite dominating the game. A more clinical performance will be required on Saturday.
While the Darlington game received attention due to it being a first competitive clash between the neighbouring towns – and the Willington game due to it being the club’s first Vase victory since reaching the Northern League – the game with Benfield will be much more important in shaping the club’s season.
With this fixture being followed by back to back home games against Penrith and Billingham Town, it gives the club a chance to gain some much needed momentum.
The game kicks off at 3pm at Sam Smith’s Park Benfield Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear. NE6 4NU.