By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe continue their tough run of fixtures with a home game against West Auckland.
After battling draws against top-half sides Billingham Synthonia and Sunderland RCA, Aycliffe were unable to get any points away at Whitley Bay before they were knocked out of the Durham Challenge Cup by holders Spennymoor.
And now Allan Oliver’s side face free-scoring West Auckland as they look to move off the bottom of the table.
The game will see the return of Elliot Gardner – the club’s all-time record goalscorer – who left the Royal Blues for West Auckland last December.
Gardner operates in midfield for last year’s FA Vase finalists, helping supply front duo Mattie Moffat and John Campbell, who have both already reached double figures for the season.
Also helping provide ammunition for the front-two is former Darlington winger Adam Rundle, who was a part of the Quakers’ Blue Square Bet Premier side last season.
The Newtonians’ efforts to stop them scoring are boosted by the return of Mark Peck from suspension. The giant defender was harshly sent-off during the club’s 3-3 draw at South Shields and was hit with a three-match ban.
But there are doubts over the fitness of Danny Earl, Kris Hughes, Dan Mellanby and John Close, who all missed the midweek cup defeat against Spennymoor.
Earl suffered an ankle injury against Whitley Bay, while Close pulled a quad muscle in the same game. Hughes picked up a hamstring problem during the draw with Sunderland RCA while Mellanby has been absent since that game.
The game kicks off at 3pm at Moore Lane Park, Aycliffe Sports Club. Admission is £5 adults, £3 concessions.