Whickham are back in action after a two-week break. The home team welcome Whitley Bay to the First Mortgage Glebe on Saturday.
Tony Fawcett’s team will be looking to kick start 2022 with a victory. The Whickham manager knows the tough challenge his former team will pose.
Tony said: “There has been a change-over in players since I stopped managing there, but a lot of the lads are still there. They are good footballers.
“They will be a good footballing side. They will move the ball well and create chances. They will be organised and will be tough to beat.
“They’ve not had a great run of late, so they’ll be looking to roll their sleeves up and try and get back to winning ways.
“We feel it will be a really difficult game, where they come and play a lot of football against us. We will have to work really hard and outsmart them.”
Whitley Bay come into the fixture having lost their last five league games. The visitors have shipped 23 goals in the process.
The Bay’s last victory was an impressive 3-2 comeback, away from home against Redcar Athletic.
The Lang Jacks will be looking to keep up their impressive home form, having won all five league games at the Glebe since the arrival of Fawcett and his backroom staff.
Whickham come into the game following a 3-2 away defeat to Guisborough Town. An uninspiring first half performance, left the Lang Jacks with too much to do in the second half.
Whickham, have had a busy festive period recruiting four new players. Jamie Dunn, Daniel Barlow, Kaleb Young and Callum Elliott will all be available to make their home debuts.
Fawcett is delighted with the new additions, he added: “Jamie will give us everything he’s got every game, he gets stuck-in and he’ll chip in with a few goals.
“We signed Kaleb from Birtley. I’ve been really impressive with Kaleb earlier in the season, I’ve been monitoring him all season.
“He will add a lot of quality to our midfield and add tough competition for the lads who are already there. He will help create chances and goals, he’s a skilful creative player.
“Callum Elliott is a defender we feel we are a little bit shy in defence, so we’ve been looking to add to that. Callum is an athletic, physical good footballer. He will get up and down a lot for us, we feel he will add real quality to our squad.
“We’ve signed Danny, he’s been out in America for four years and it might only be for short term. He’s an attacking midfielder and can play any of the three-attacking positions, he is a real talent of a player.
“He can play a multitude of positions, for me I feel he’s better higher up the pitch. He will create a lot and score goals.
Fawcett has explained all players within the team will need to fight for their position.
He added: “Everytime we offer someone to come and join our squad, they sign knowing that it isn’t without competition.
“Any club to be successful you need to have the drive and determination. If you’re slacking in training or games, there will be someone chomping at the bit to get your place.
“If you keep the competition high, everyone will have a good attitude about how they play.
“The lads coming in know there is competition, and they have to oust some good players to get in the starting eleven. When they do get in there, they’ve got to play well to keep that shirt.”
Whickham have a fully fit squad to choose from. The only absentee will be top goalscorer Zak Atkinson, the striker is serving a ban following his red card against West Auckland Town.
Both teams are separated by only three points, should the Lang Jacks claim all three points on Saturday they could climb up to eighth in the league table.