By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe make a long awaited return to Northern League action against Hebburn following the unscheduled winter break.
The Royal Blues’ last outing was back on 12th January – a 2-0 win over Sunderland RCA – following three postponements.
The entire league was hit by the snow and ice over the past few weeks, so Aycliffe remain in 19th in the table and seven points clear of the drop zone.
And they head into Saturday’s game at Hebburn with revenge on their mind, following a 4-1 thrashing at Moore Lane Park earlier in the campaign.
The Hornets have been a revelation in their first year in Division One following their promotion from the second tier last season, sitting in ninth place and having enjoyed famous victories over Whitley Bay and Bishop Auckland in the league and Darlington in the Durham Challenge Cup.
They have lost just one of their last six league outings and sit in 10th place in the Northern League ‘current form’ table.
One place ahead of them in ninth is Allan Oliver’s Aycliffe side. The Newtonians have appeared to have turned the corner following the disastrous start to the campaign and have won four of their last six games.
And while the snow disrupted the team’s momentum following back-to-back-victories at the beginning of the calendar year, the rest has allowed right-back Stephen Gibson to recuperate following his hamstring problem and he should be available at Hebburn.
Fellow full-back Mark Wood begins a two-match ban, after picking up a red card for his Sunday side Aycliffe WMC against Coundon.
Skipper Sean Tarling should finally make his first appearance of 2013 after sitting out the first two games through suspension.
The game kicks off at 3pm at Hebburn Sports & Social Ground, North Drive, Victoria Road West, NE31 1UN.