South Shields have been handed a home tie against either Alnwick Town or Blyth Town in the second round of the Northern League Cup.

The Mariners have been handed a bye to the second round, and are now guaranteed to take on Northern League Division Two opposition at Mariners Park.

The date for the fixture has yet to be determined.

Should Alnwick prevail against Blyth in their first round tie, Shields will take on a side they picked up four points against in the league last season.

Alnwick twice fought back from a goal behind to snatch a 2-2 home draw last August, but the Mariners were in mean form when they met in the reverse fixture, winning 4-1 at Mariners Park in their last match before Christmas.

If Blyth are the first round victors, though, it will be an intriguing and new challenge for Shields.

Town won the Northern Alliance league for the third year in a row last season, and this time were in a position to gain promotion to Division Two of the Northern League. They are now preparing for life in their new league.

Tickets for the Raydale Cup, in Gretna, are now available to buy.

South Shields will take part in the pre-season event alongside Scottish clubs Ayr United, Queen of the South and Gretna.

The Mariners will play two games across two days on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10, beginning with a fixture against Ayr at 3.30pm on the opening day. Ahead of that, Gretna will take on Queen of the South at 12pm.

The winner of those matches will then take part in Sunday’s final, with the losers playing a third-place play-off. The final will take place at 3.30pm, with the losing semi-finalists’ game on at 12pm.

A weekend ticket – which will give holders entry to all four games played across the two days – costs £12, while it is £7 for a day ticket.

All children under the age of 16 will be allowed in free of charge if with a paying adult.

Tickets can be bought from http://www.gretnafc2008shop.co.uk/raydale-tickets.html while they will also be available on the day.

The event was first competed for as a pre-season competition in the 1970s, but was revived in its current format three years ago.

Last year, Ayr won the competition, beating Gretna 1-0 in a closely-matched final.

The event will take place at Gretna’s Raydale Park, which is on Dominion Road, Gretna, and has a postcode of DG16 5AP.

Places are available on a supporters’ coach to the event, which will depart Mariners Park at 9am on Saturday, July 9. It will then return the following day, although those who book up will have to source their own accommodation.

A seat on the bus costs £25 per person and is on a first-come, first-served basis. To book a place, pop into Mariners Park or call 0191 454 7800.

IMAGE: Peter Talbot.

South Shields’ first pre-season training session took place on Saturday – with senior and reserve team players taking part.

It was held at Mortimer Community College, and although a number of players were unavailable because of work and holiday commitments, preparations for the 2016-17 campaign got underway.

In the video above, first-team coach Mark Scott reflects on the session, and looks ahead to the season as Shields ready themselves for a “new chapter”.

You can view a full set of images from the training session – captured by Peter Talbot – on Facebook here: Pre-season training, June 25, 2016

The images will be available to view on Flickr on Monday.