Its first versus second this week as South Shields host Durham & Northumberland 3 league leaders Houghton at Harton Sports Centre on the 3G pitch (2.30pm).
The two sides find themselves in the promotion places, with Houghton top of the pile on maximum points after they’ve secured six bonus-point wins from six league games, including an impress victory at Hornby Park against Seaton Carew.
As it happens, Shields only loss was at Seaton Carew early in the season when a red card inevitably changed the game.
The last time Shields faced Houghton was back in March 2014 when the two sides met at Houghton with the game ending in a 20-20 draw in which Houghton scored a last minute penalty from the touchline.
Ross Radford and David Bains were dealt a blow early in the week when captain Jordan Wright was ruled out for a month with a knee injury.
Dan McKay is likely to miss the game with concussion having came off at half-time last week at Yarm.
Daniel Whitelaw, Louis Kellett and James McGurk are all ruled out.
Alex Wylie returned returns to the squad after missing last week as does the influential Gareth Carey. James Pocklington also returns.
Paul Bate is likely to start if he can prove his fitness, while Oli Tucker, who has been outstanding all year, could come in.
Matty Stephenson also returns and will come in for Jordan Wright and will captain the side in Wright’s absence.
South Shields Mariners are also in action as they travel to face Percy Park III (2.15pm).