Bedlington Cricket Club’s first XI skipper Sean McCafferty faces a late fitness test ahead of the derby clash against title chasing Ashington at Hirst Head on Saturday (1.30pm start).
McCafferty sustained an ankle injury playing in a pre-season football friendly for North Shields at Spennymoor last midweek.
Terriers vice-captain Nicky Douglas said: “We are hoping Sean will be fit but at the moment his chances are only 50-50.”
If McCafferty fails to make it, bottom of the league Bedlington will be led by Douglas, who insists the outfit have certainly not given up hope of avoiding the drop.
“We still believe we are capable of securing victories which would keep us in the top flight” said the 38-year-old.
Bedlington were shot out for 92 in last Saturday’s clash at Leadgate, who had amassed a massive 365-5.
Douglas, a train driver, added: “We were derailed at Leadgate but are looking to get back on track for the derby clash.
“We will go into the game with a positive outlook as we start afresh after erasing the Leadgate defeat out of our minds and we always look forward to derby games whatever league we are in.
“We will be striving to put in an improved performance, which in all fairness we had done the two previous Saturdays.
“We are massive underdogs and it will be a David v Goliath clash as Ashington are challenging at the top, which we knew they would be.”
If McCafferty gets the green light, Bedlington will be back to full strength as left arm opening bowler and top order batsman Chris Younger, as well as all rounder Matthew Tanney, both return.
Meanwhile Ashington skipper Greg Williams said: “Just because Bedlington have struggled since the start of the season, it doesn’t mean that you are going to turn up and automatically beat them – they have got some good cricketers.
“I know them pretty well and we’ll certainly not be going into the game half hearted.
“We’ll approach it as if we were playing the Swalwells and Shotley Bridges of this league and adopt the same attitude.
“It’s imperative that we are at the top of our game because they have got players in their side who can come off on the day, and as a team they are more than capable of winning.”
Williams, who said Ashington will be at full strength, added: “Personally, I am quite surprised at the position Bedlington find themselves in as I thought they would have done better than what they have.
“Unfortunately when you get off to a poor start it’s hard to turn things around, but they are a much better team than the league table suggests and we will certainly not be underestimating them in any way, shape or form.”