Ryhope CW manager Gary Pearson has hailed his side’s recent improvements on the pitch as they prepare to face West Auckland Town in the Northern League on Saturday.

Colliery Welfare had lost nine consecutive league games before November’s victory over neighbours Seaham Red Star, which started a run of form which has pushed the promoted side into 15th position.

However, Ryhope lost 4-2 to Consett AFC on Saturday, which extended their winless run to four games, but Pearson believes there are plenty of positives to take despite the lack of success.

He said: “If you take the goals out of the game (against Consett), we were the better side for the lion’s share of that game, which speaks volumes as to how far we have come along.

“I’m pretty pleased with that, and we will take those positives going into Saturday’s game.”

Ryhope’s matches have averaged over seven goals this season, including eight in the reverse fixture against West Auckland at the beginning of November.

“We’ve just got to keep enjoying our football that we’ve been doing the last six-eight weeks. We’re playing good football, and it’s exciting for any neutral that’s coming along, they know they’re guaranteed goals.

“Every game is a big game. It doesn’t matter who we play we have to try and get points on that board.”

Ryhope have already come up against 17th-placed West Auckland twice this season, after the re-arranged game at the Ryhope Recreation Ground ended 5-3 to the visitors, after the original game was abandoned due to floodlight failure.

Pearson said: “We’ve just got to go there and give it our all. I totally believe that their league position is false in terms of the players they’ve got.

“But I believe I’ve got some good players too and we’re down there. It’s going to be a tough task on Saturday.”

Ryhope will be without Kyle Davis who will serve the first of his three-game suspension for the 3pm kick-off at The Wanted Stadium.