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Albany Northern League.

Byline: By Malcolm Pratt

Although they are not counting their chickens, Dunston Federation are almost home and dry in the race for the Championship after defeating Consett on Thursday night.

They probably need only five points from seven games but despite being unbeaten are still wary of today's visit to Ashington.

"Make no mistake, the Colliers will give us a hard time," declared Fed secretary Bill Montigue.

Dunston should be at full strength with the return of Alex Benjamin but Ashington await fitness reports on several players.

"Following our victory over Horden CW on Tuesday night which took us into the semi-finals of the league cup, manager Ray Gowan will have to look at a number of players," said spokesman Brian Bennett.

Billingham Synthonia are realistically looking to pip Newcastle Benfield Saints for the runners up position. Synners miss Andrew Fletcher at home to Chester-le-Street who have their eyes set on ending in the top six. The Cestrians will give late fitness checks to striker Phil Benn and Gary Andison.

Newcastle Benfield Saints, 11 points adrift of Synners with just one game in hand, are at home to Jarrow Roofing, embroiled in a fight against relegation.

Dean Fuller and Carl Baston are suspended but Shaun Bell and Johnny Brown are back from injury. Paul Talbot and Alu Bangura could play some role for Saints.

Jarrow Roofing, meanwhile, are just a point off the bottom three but have games in hand on all the sides below them.

They picked up a point in midweek but still cannot name the banned Daryl Leach.

Andy Reay will have a late fitness test but Paul Chow is expected to play.

Durham City manager Andy Toman named himself on the bench last weekend and fined Nathan Jamieson who's contract was up at Walsall.

Kevin Dickson is available following suspension but Mark Patterson is doubtful for the fixture with Thornaby at the Archibald's Stadium.

Horden CW ended last Saturday's game with just nine fit players and for the visit to relegation threatened Consett again have selection problems. Alan Martin, Darren Roulston, Andy Bowes and Martin O'Riordan are all receiving treatment, but Jason Ainsley and James Huntley are expected to be fit.

Washington Nissan aim to put further pressure on leaders Northallerton Town by winning at Marske United. Manager Wilf Constantine has signed Paul Pringle from Horden CW, Keith Graydon from Spennymoor United and Tony Hanson, previously with Washington.

West Allotment Celtic are third and improving Norton and Stockton Ancients are injury free but leading scorer Michael Chilton is still suspended.

Newcastle Blue Star are in the promotion frame and visiting Crook Town could include Kevin Gustard, Stephen Buzzeo and Simon Reay.

Tony Harrison has resurrected Prudhoe Town's promotion claims but his side faces a potentially difficult task at home to Easington whose recent revival might yet save them from the drop.

North Shields hope to complete their first double of the season when the line up against Whickham at Ralph Gardner Park. David Thompson, Mark Cass and Dean Lee are all added to the squad.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 2, 2005
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