SCOTT Oliver has challenged his Hebburn Town side to win four points from their next two daunting games – despite the absence of free-scoring striker Channon North.
Oliver has admitted North’s three-match suspension has come at the “worst possible time”, with Hebburn set to travel to Northern League Division Two leaders Norton and Stockton Ancients tomorrow.
They then host second-placed Seaham Red Star – who have won their last 14 league games – on Tuesday, and will be without key striker North, who has scored an incredible 36 goals so far this season.
Hebburn have won their last two in the league, and are fifth in the table. Oliver is confident other players will step up to the plate in North’s absence, as Town look to keep up the pressure on the top three.
He said: “We’re without Channon tomorrow, which is obviously a big blow.
“With Seaham coming up on Tuesday as well, Channon’s suspension couldn’t have come at a worse time for us, but that is the way football goes sometimes.
“Without Channon, we need to make sure when he comes back after three games, we are still in the mix.
“Hopefully some of the others can chip in in the next few games, including Shaun Reay, who has about 14 or 15 goals so far, which in a normal season would be brilliant.
“Because Channon has got so many, though, that has been overlooked.”
Ross Toward is also suspended for Hebburn tomorrow, while Josh Allan is expected to start.
Oliver has set his side a target of four points this week, which is one he feels they are more than capable of achieving.
He added: “If we could still be in the mix at the end of January, I’d be delighted, and then we can go again.
“We’ve won our last two, but a bit of a gap has developed between us and the top three.
“We need to try and get four points from the next two games, as anything less would make it difficult for us.
“We beat Norton 4-0 earlier in the season, and have also beaten Seaham two times out of two this season, so we’re capable of doing it.
“We’ve not had a game for two weeks, so the lads should be fresh, flying and ready to go.
“Alan Pegram was outstanding in our last match, and is a very experienced replacement for Dan Smith. His passing was a joy to watch.”