Playoff hopefuls Birtley Town play host to Carl Jarrett's Steelmen, desperate to put the seal on fifth place.

Level on points with Guisborough Town in sixth, but having played two games less, the Hoops welcome Redcar Athletic in the hopes of all but nailing down their spot in the elusive playoffs.

A weekend defeat to Shildon – however inevitable – coupled with the Priorymen’s victory over Crook Town, Birtley now sit in a somewhat precarious position on the edge of the top five, with no room for error across four home ties.

Matters are a little less urgent for Redcar Athletic, who despite high aspirations, fell short of their ambitions, and are forced to play out the season in a jostle for mid-table bragging rights.

Still, pride is on the line, as too is momentum to take into next season, and First Team boss Carl Jarrett will be in no mood to taste defeat.

Carl Jarrett labels youthful Birtley a 'tough task'

Here’s everything you need to know as the Steelmen finally visit the Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium…

Picture of WHO ARE YA?

WHO ARE YA?

Birtley Town

A club whose Northern League roots date back to its very inception, Birtley Town’s history is not too dissimilar from that of the division’s giants.

The Hoops featured in the league’s very first season in 1889, running out the victors in its inaugural match against Elswick Rangers (Birtley Town 4-1 Elswick Rangers).

A move to the North Eastern League in 1926 reaped little success, with the club soon opting to join the Wearside League in advance of what would become the Second World War.

Having withdrawn from the league sometime after the global conflict, the Birtley Town that exists today was reformed in 1993.

The side have featured at Birtley Sports Complex since such time, with regular work and development carried out on the grounds facilitating promotion back to the Northern League in 2018.

Since, a stellar season in Division Two paved the way for another promotion, sinking Billingham Town in a tight play-off final affair to mark their first season at step five in the club’s extensive history.

DID YOU KNOW: Birtley Town FC was formed as simply Birtley FC, remaining as such until after the Second World War, and retaining the suffix when reformed in 1993

CURRENT FORM

A first league win in five at the weekend – as Kevin Burgess stroked home the winner against Seaham Red Star – Redcar Athletic still harbour just a lone defeat in their last ten in the Northern League.

Whilst somewhat lacking that clinical edge, the Steelmen’s defence has remained watertight, with just the five goals conceded in such time, coupled with a further five clean sheets.

Across the halfway line, Birtley Town face the nail-biting anxiety of a race to the finish line, forced to look over their shoulder at a fast approaching Guisborough Town.

The Hoops return to the Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium this evening off the back of two successive away trips, with just the one point in the bag to show for both games.

Playoff compatriots Heaton Stannington held Birtley for a goalless draw at Grounsell Park, a result much more appealing than a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of title-chasing Shildon AFC at the weekend.

LAST TIME OUT

An unhappy opening day for Redcar Athletic.

It’s no secret, this season has been far from a success for the infant Steelmen, and such misery began right as the curtains raised.

A quarter of an hour in to a season littered with promise, hope and expectation, Redcar were three in arrears to newly-promoted Birtley Town, a spirited outfit showing no sign of relief.

Captain Alex Francis took the plaudits for opening the floodgates, as defensive ineptitudes offered the Hoops a further double by the break.

Joe Thompson lashed home a goal of the season contender to present the Steelmen a sliver of hope, soon dashed as the visiting Greens settled the result from the penalty spot.

TEAM NEWS

A season of never-ending availability concerns, Brad Mills becomes the latest to miss out following his dismissal at Hillheads Park.

The fullback walked for a second bookable offence, leaving the Steelmen to fend off a desperate Whitley Bay for the benefit of a point.

In more positive news, Layton Watts returns to the fold following his own suspension. The forward succumbed to an accumulation of bookings, missing both the trip to North Tyneside, and Friday’s victory over Seaham Red Star.

Jarrett offers the latest on a continuing injury saga

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Right then, who’s joining us on the fringes of Gateshead this evening?

FINDING 'THE ARROWMARK HOME IMPROVEMENTS STADIUM’

Situated not too far from the inner facets of Gateshead, and just a short distance from Chester-le-Street, Birtley is a small town just south of the Tyne.

The Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium, also known as Birtley Sports Complex, can be found not far off the A1(M), using the postcode DH3 2QW.

ADMISSION

Admission into The Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium is priced at £6 for adults and £4 for concessions, whilst those under-18 enter for just £2

For accompanied under-16s, entrance to the ground will be free.

Gates will open around 6pm, ahead of kick-off at 7:30pm.

TRAVEL

The club are not operating coach travel to this fixture, however, supporters can join the Steelmen on the road to Newcastle Benfield this weekend, completely free of charge!

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