Whitley welcome Whickham to Hillheads this evening in a game of crucial importance to both clubs. Only four points separate the sides at the lower end of the table and while Whickham will be hoping to narrow the gap, victory for Whitley would see them jump three places to 13th position.

Following a creditable draw at Shildon on Saturday,  Nathan Haslam will be hoping to go one better in his first home game as manager and he could have Craig McFarlane available after the experienced defender missed Saturday’s game through injury, but Lewis Walton, who suffered cuts to the head at Shildon, must be rated doubtful.

The sides have already met twice this season, on both occasions at The Glebe, where Whickham edged two closely contested games.  An unfortunate own goal in extra time condemned Whitley to a 2-1 defeat in the FA Vase back in September, while in November, Whitley missed a last minute penalty and were beaten 4-3.

The only previous meeting of the sides was back in 2009 when Whitley were 5-1 winners in a League Cup 3rd Round tie at Hillheads.

Due to the reduced number of teams in the First Division this season, tonight’s game will be only Whitley’s third midweek fixture of the season at Hillheads and the first since the League Cup victory over North Shields back in October.  Kick off at Hillheads is at 7.30pm.