Tyneside Trip For Sutton

Article by Mark Bravery

For the second consecutive weekend Sutton United have a long away trip in the Vanarama National League, as this Saturday (6 January) they travel to north-east England to face Gateshead at the International Stadium.

Sutton are in the midst of a challenging run of league fixtures, and have lost three of their last five, but are still third in the table, six points behind leaders Macclesfield, who beat them 1-0 in Cheshire last weekend.

Paul Doswell's team are boosted by the return of popular attacking midfielder Harry Beautyman, who has just signed for an undisclosed fee from Stevenage Borough.

Back in September 1990 United won a league game 9-0 at the International Stadium, though on their return last season it was a different story as the home side edged the match 1-0. Earlier this season the two sides drew 1-1 at Gander Green Lane with each converting a penalty, Simon Walton scoring Sutton's. Gateshead, managed since October by former Newcastle defender Steve Watson, have drawn their last four games and currently stand 17th.

Sutton goalkeeper Jamie Butler picked up a knee injury towards the end of the New Year's Day draw with Boreham Wood, so manager Paul Doswell has signed Wales Under-19 keeper Owen Evans on loan from Wigan Athletic. Nicky Bailey is doubtful after straining a calf in the same game, while Louis John and Dean Beckwith are likely to remain sidelined by injury, so former Woking player Terell Thomas, also on loan from Wigan, is expected to retain his place in the centre of defence alongside skipper Jamie Collins. Winger Ross Stearn, who has been recovering from an ankle injury, has joined former club Bath City on a month's loan.

Gateshead keeper James Montgomery has a hand injury so Dan Hanford is expected to play in goal for the Heed (as he did in the two previous meetings with Sutton). Midfielder JJ O'Donell is a slight injury doubt.

Sutton are back at home next Monday evening (8 January) when they host Molesey in the second round of the Surrey Senior Cup (kick-off 7.45). Molesey currently sit second-bottom in the South division of the Bostik (Isthmian) League, although they have suffered a three-point deduction. Sutton are expected to field a side containing several academy players, as they did in the previous round's 2-1 win over Redhill, with academy manager Marvin Williams in charge on the night.