MIDDLESBROUGH find themselves in the unaccustomed position of propping up the rest of the Premier Division, but they have the chance to make up some lost ground in a double- header of away days.
Boro have a game in hand on the teams above them, and they complete that on Sunday when they travel to Fountains Garth to play the match against Guisborough that was postponed earlier in the season because of ground risk issues. That match will follow on the trip to Barnard Castle this afternoon which will certainly test the Teessiders.
Barney have made a good start to the season, their one blemish coming in their late April home game against league leaders Darlington where Jonny Barnes was gifted the perfect seamer’s pitch with which to dismantle the powerful Castle batting lineup.
That apart, Barney have looked the business with three wins and a positive draw from their other four games, and with Justin Hesp back from holiday they are able to put out a full strength side.
Guisborough’s weekend begins with another home match, the opponents tomorrow being champions Richmondshire.
Richmond have recovered well from their defeat at Leven Park a couple of weeks ago and they are handily placed to take advantage of any slip-ups by the one team above them in the table.
Leaders Darlington stole a march on everyone last week, working exceptionally hard to ensure they squeezed the maximum amount of play out of their Feethams match up with Stokesley, and then recording a victory which took them 24 points clear of the chasing pack.
The table-toppers go to Park Drive tomorrow to take on a Hartlepool team who have two excellent victories being accompanied by two drubbings.
Pools are able to include Newcastle United reserve goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell in the team. Quakers have to reckon without James Dobson and Callum Lethbridge earns a call-up.
Stokesley, still joint second despite the Feethams flailing, have to face the rest of the summer without ‘keeper batsman Will Brown who has returned to Australia. Second team stumper Tom Kendrew steps up for the SCG game against a Sedgefield side who still don’t have an overseas pro, although they continue to work on trying to get Nisal Randika back.
There’ll be something in the sea air at Windy Hill Lane tomorrow with the welcome return of the Premier derby against Saltburn after several years in which the two sides went their separate divisional ways.