Relegation threatened Team Northumbria next up for Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay return to league action this weekend when they take on Team Northumbria at Hillheads.

The visitors are currently embroiled in a battle to avoid relegation from the Ebac Northern League division one.

The Students, playing in the top flight for only the second season since gaining promotion to the Northern League in 2012, were not expected to struggle but are currently occupying the third relegation spot, two points adrift of safety and with only four games to play.

But with two former Bay players in their squad, Paul Antony and latest signing Chris Moore, they will be looking to give Whitley a difficult afternoon.

Bay player manager Leon Ryan still has an unbeaten league record since taking over in February and will be determined to continue that successful run.

Making his home debut will be former Blyth Spartans midfielder Craig Hubbard, who had an excellent game in his first outing for the club at Consett last week.

This will be the third time Whitley have met Team Northumbria this season, both previous games being closely contested.

Whitley went down to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Coach Lane in the FA Cup back in August but turned the tables two months later with an exciting 4-3 league win at the same venue.

All five of Whitley’s goals in those two games came from Paul Chow, who will be hoping to add to the 39 he had scored prior to Wednesday evening’s game at Dunston UTS.

On Tuesday evening Whitley will be aiming to reach the semi-finals of the Northern League Cup when they play Bishop Auckland in the fourth round at Hillheads.

The sides met at the same stage of the competition last season and on the same date, April 8.

On that occasion the game was played at Heritage Park and after a hard fought 0-0 draw, the tie went to penalties with Bishops winning the shoot-out 5-4.

Victory on Tuesday would see Whitley make the long journey to Whitehaven in the semi-final.