The Northern Football League
Published 10th August 2012
.....might not be as sharp as opponents Liversedge when the FA Cup starts at the Extra Preliminary Round stage on Saturday.
Liversedge are members of the Baris Northern Counties East League, which suffered several blank weekends from the weather last season and therefore decided to start the new season last Saturday.
“Liversedge have played two league games this week, and might be sharper than us. But on the other hand we’ve had a good pre-season,” said Dixon, who has had his opponents watched.
Adam Nicholls and Micky Rae are amongst the players who have left the club, but former Darlington player Adam Rundle has joined. Striker Stuart Banks and Chris Mullin are missing today, while full-back Andrew Green has a fitness test.
Spennymoor Town have a tough opening at the Brewery Field against Scarborough Athletic, who finished third in the NCEL last season, and include former Hartlepool player Denny Ingram.
Moors` manager Jason Ainsley has added several players to his squad during the summer, and one of those, Glenn Taylor, is unavailable, as well as striker Gavin Cogdon.
FA Vase winners Dunston UTS start on a different Wembley trail against Armthorpe Welfare at the UTS Stadium.
Manager Billy Irwin has still got the same squad as last season, with only defender Steve Gibson unavailable tomorrow.
Former Doncaster and Rotherham striker Leo Fortune-West took over as Armthorpe manager during the summer.
Whitley Bay have a testing away game at Bridlington Town, whom they beat in the FA Vase last season, and they will be missing new full-back Ian Watson because of injury, while Craig MacFarlane and Callum Anderson are both suspended.
Bridlington finished second in the NCEL last season, and are managed by former Darlington and Scarborough player Mitch Cook. Whitley watched them in league action earlier in the week.
Norton & Stockton Ancients’ new boss Andy Campbell is in charge for the first time away to NCEL First Division Pontefract Collieries, and he will have a full squad, which includes new signings Richie Storr from Billingham Synthonia and Danny Earl, signed on Thursday from Guisborough Town.
Campbell was on target for Boro in the FA Cup as a teenager, against QPR in 1998.
Consett are at Tadcaster Albion, also from the NCEL, and manager Kenny Lindoe will be without summer signing, striker Peter Bulmer, as well as defender David Scorer and midfielder Luke Richardson.
Consett reached the First Round proper in 1996, and will take a busload of fans with them tomorrow.
Newton Aycliffe are at home to Holker Old Boys from the North West Counties League, and they will be without keeper Scott Pocklington because of suspension, so he is replaced by Stephen Richardson. There will be home debuts for strike force Gavin Barton and Paul Robinson.
West Allotment Celtic have brought in several new players during the summer, and that allows manager Paul Stoneman to choose from a squad of twenty, with only Liam Hudson missing for their home tie against Selby Town.
Jarrow Roofing, who were relegated last season, are at home to Pickering Town, and manager Richie McLoughlin will have a full squad, except for Anth Myers who is unavailable.
Hebburn Town, who got all the way through to the Fourth Qualifying Round last season, are at Thackley from the NCEL, and manager Paul Bennett will be missing ten players for various reasons, but he will still have a squad of fifteen to choose from.
There are several all-Northern League clashes, although not as many as there were last season at this stage.
Bishop Auckland are at newly relegated Tow Law Town, and manager Colin Myers will give a debut to Sonny Andrews, who was the top scorer at Spennymoor last season, as well as full-back Jamie Harwood. However, striker Dan Hawkins and defender Adam McLane are both missing.
New Tow Law manager Gary Anderson, who took over from Ian Davison during the summer, will have a full squad to choose from, except for injured striker Mattie Scott.
Shildon, who got to the First Round ten years ago, go across Cumbria to play at Second Division Whitehaven, and manager Gary Forrest will be missing new signing Adam Johnston, who has been a prolific scorer at Spennymoor, Whitley Bay and Durham City in the past. Midfielder Chris McCabe is also out because of injury.
Durham, who are back in the Northern League this season, use their 3G pitch for the first time in an FA competition when they face Newcastle Benfield at New Ferens Park.
Manager Dickie Ord has had to carry out almost a full rebuild of his squad, because several of last season’s players have left for pastures new.
Benfield will be without their keeper, Andy Grainger, because he is on honeymoon, and Mark Turnbull.
Billingham Synthonia are at home to Celtic Nation, who have changed their name from Gillford Park.
Synners are missing their new striker Andy Jennings, while new full-back Andy Burton has broken his wrist and will be out for a month.
Centre half David Abel is suspended. The visitors have signed several new players, including former Darlington players Jeff Smith, Graeme Lee and Paul Arnison , and they will all probably make their debuts.
South Shields feared that they might have to switch their tie against Darlington RA because of an issue with their landlord, but they have now been given permission to play on Filtrona Park. However, because of the uncertainty, manager Jon King hasn’t been able to recruit many players and has just started adding to his squad.
The RA, who beat Darlington in a friendly in midweek, will be at full strength.
Sunderland RCA are at Ashington, and they include former Middlesbrough midfielder Mark Hudson, signed from West Auckland Town during the summer, as well as striker Andy Appleby from Whitby Town and Aristote Guerian-Lokonga from Newcastle Benfield.
Ashington will be without long-term injury victims Jonny Godsmark and Gareth Rees.
Chester-le-Street, with new manager Colin Wake in charge, are at home to Billingham Town, and he will choose from a full squad as they try to pull off a shock. Town will be without only one player, Craig Perry.
Crook Town, who are at home to Penrith, are without former Darlington midfielder Richard Hodgson, while strikers Kevin Devine and Kyle Davis are both missing.
Penrith have a new manager in Brian Williams, who is starting his second spell in charge.
Marske United face Stokesley SC in a local derby, with Craig Gibbin taking charge of his first game as Marske manager on his return to the club where he is the record appearance holder.
Summer signings Curtis Collantine and Kieran Edwards are both missing because of injury. Stokesley are also Gibbin’s previous club, where he was assistant-manager.
Northallerton Town are also hoping spring a surprise on Guisborough at Ainderby Road, and they will be at full strength, except for Ian Smurthwaite and Danny Shoulder, who are both missing.
Guisborough manager Chris Hardy won’t be naming his side until just before kick-off, because he has five players struggling with injuries, including recent signing Michael Jameson.
Midfielder Luke Bythway is definitely out because of suspension. New signing Ben Escritt makes his debut in goal.
Esh Winning manager Andrew Soppitt is hoping to sign a new striker before their away game at Washington, but regardless he will still be missing Chris Smith, Stephen Oakley and Alex Wilson.
Washington will give midfielder Mark Patterson a fitness test, but striker John Lydon is out long-term.
Birtley Town are at North Shields in an all-Second Division clash, and their only doubt is veteran midfielder Craig Marron because of injury. Shields are now managed by former Blackburn striker Graham Fenton.
In the other tie, Bedlington Terriers include several new faces in their side when they play neighbours Morpeth Town.