Northumberland FA U18s manager Alan Thompson is not underestimating rivals Durham FA after their 2-2 draw against West Riding - a team North beat earlier in the season at Whitley Park.
He said: “It’s every game as it comes and we have got a tough one against Durham where it is a winner takes all situation.
“Their draw was a shock result but we will prepare the same - we will go out expecting a tough game and I’m sure they will as well.”
The top of the table battle is due to commence Saturday 2 March at Leyburn Grove (DH4 5EG) with the winners earning themselves a first-placed finish in the Association of Northern Counties East Division.
North currently sit in second, only on goal-difference, and are level on points with their North East counterparts after a four game unbeaten start to the season.
And it will feel like judgement day with Lincolnshire hot on North’s heels; the Tynesiders only requiring a single point to guarantee their progression to the next stage of the competition.
Speaking on the recent victory over North Riding, Thompson said: “The lads were excellent and did exactly what we asked by getting on the front foot.
“We hit the bar three times in the first 10 or 15 minutes and when Sam [Dibb-Fuller] went through for his goal the first thing I said was I’m glad he didn't hit the bar.”
Many of the regular first team squad were away for the fixture which meant Adam Orarbay got a call up to the starting eleven as well as 16-year-old Josh Wilson who started between the sticks to replace an injured Liam Renwick.
Thompson praised those who stepped-up, suggesting that the depth of the county team is very strong and competition for places are high ahead of the final fixture of the regular season.
He added: “Three players were missing after being called up by Carlisle United development and it could have been a worry but we brought in young Adam for his debut and he was outstanding.
“We’ve got to see about knocks and form but no player did themselves any harm in terms of future squad selection.”