Andy Coyles is looking forward to taking Penrith AFC to face leaders Dunston UTS.

It will be bottom against top of Northern League Division One this Saturday as the Bonny Blues, eight points adrift, visit the UTS Stadium.

But Penrith manager Coyles reckons he has a team that can test Chris Swailes’ side.

He said: “People might look at it and think ‘Oh dear, we are playing top of the league’. [But] I genuinely look forward to these types of games because there is no pressure on you as a team whatsoever.

"The pressure is on them to keep winning games, as they have been doing. We have a squad now that I feel can compete. I say the word ‘compete’ because it doesn’t mean you will win the game, but it means you will certainly give the opposition a run for their money.

"We gave North Shields three goals in our last away game [a 3-1 defeat on January 26 before last Saturday’s scheduled home fixture against Guisborough was postponed].

"They didn’t really earn a single goal so, this time around, hopefully, we will make no mistakes and let’s see where that takes us.”

With the likes of Matty Clarke, Kyle May and Jonny Jamieson having signed last month, Coyles thinks his squad is coming together nicely, with their Cumberland Cup Quarter-Final at home to Whitehaven AFC set to take place next Wednesday.

“We have a nice mix and a nice balance of lads who are coming through the ranks, and lads who have played a lot of games for various different clubs,” Coyles, who played for Whitehaven AFC, said.

“It’s good to see the older players helping the younger ones out and actually nurturing them. It’s shaping up quite nicely.

“With the squad we have now, I like to think that it’s better than the squad we finished last season with. We have brought some good players in.

"We lost Stu Dixon but we regained Jonny Jamieson, Tyler Bowman has come back, and [Martyn] Coleman has come back so, really, we have done relatively well to get the squad back together.”

Despite the recent poor weather, Coyles doesn’t predict any major issues, should he need to add in more midweek fixtures.

He said: “I think any of the lads would prefer to play midweek games, as opposed to training.

"I think the lads are really looking forward to the Cumberland Cup fixture but they also know this Saturday’s fixture will actually dictate who is playing in that Cumberland Cup game.

“So, they know positions are at stake. Players all want to play on that Wednesday night because rumour has it that there is going to be a very good crowd coming down.

"I can see an edge to training.”