The Chronicle

EBAC NORTHERN LEAGUE

- MARK CARRUTHERS

HEBBURN Town manager Kevin Bolam is not surprised by Newcastle Benfield’s impressive start to the Northern League season.

Division One’s top two clubs go headto-head on South Tyneside tomorrow afternoon as Bolam’s side look to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Benfield have impressed during the opening two months of the campaign and could even leapfrog their hosts with a win at the Green Energy Sports Ground.

Bolam told The Chronicle: “I am not surprised by Benfield’s results, not at all.

“They have always been a side capable of doing what they are doing right now.

“They have good players and a manager that likes to play the way football should be played.

“I think they can continue doing what they are doing, why not?

“There is no reason that you shouldn’t add them to the list of clubs that can compete for promotion this season.”

Elsewhere tomorrow, three-time FA Vase winner Paul Robinson could make his Ashington debut in their home game against Consett.

Robinson’s former club North Shields travel to bottom-of-the-table Bishop Auckland, and Whitley Bay will hope to build on their impressive win over Newton Aycliffe when they head to managerles­s Guisboroug­h Town.

Scott Young and Danny Sayer will miss Seaham Red Star’s home game against West Auckland Town and Nathan O’Neill will return to the Sunderland RCA squad as they entertain Northaller­ton Town.

Ryhope CW are boosted by the return of Jack Walker and Chris Trewick for their visit to out-of-form Billingham Town, and Adam Main misses Penrith’s home game against Stockton Town as he serves a ban.

Shildon will hope to build on their midweek win at Consett and move into the top five by taking all three points from their game at Thornaby.

Bedlington Terriers will host Division Two rivals Heaton Stanningto­n at Dr Pit Park less than 48 hours after the two sides met in the Northumber­land Senior

Cup Final. West Allotment Celtic will check on the fitness of Shane Jones ahead of their home game against Chester-le-Street Town, and Jarrow are without Scott Wallace as they travel to in-form Billingham Synthonia.

Former Sunderland defender Pascal Chimbonda has registered with Durham City as they look to secure a first win of the season at Washington.

Max Nelson and new signing James Thompson have been ruled out of Sunderland West End’s visit to Birtley Town, and a suspension will keep experience­d midfielder Jeff Smith out of Tow Law Town’s trip to Ryton and Crawcrook Albion.

Two sides in the top three meet at Millfield as Crook Town entertain Carlisle City, while Easington Colliery could enhance their promotion hopes with a home win against Esh Winning.

A broken ankle means that Tom Blyth will miss Redcar Athletic’s trip to Willington, but Lee Bythway will return to the Steelmen squad for the game at Hall Lane.

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