Gavin Cogdon could make his first appearance of pre-season on Wednesday after being named in South Shields’ squad for the Sam Bartram Memorial Cup match at Boldon CA.
Holiday commitments have kept the striker out of all friendlies to date, but he is now back in contention and will be at Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s disposal at Boldon Colliery Welfare Ground.
The Mariners will use the fixture to blood a number of academy prospects, as well as first-team players in need of match action.
Also included in the squad are the likes of Gary Brown, Robert Briggs, Josh Gillies and Lee Mason.
The clubs shared the trophy last year after a 2-2 draw, and Shields joint manager Picton is excited about the prospect of academy players being given another chance to shine.
He said: “The squad includes a lot of the Under-19s, many of whom played in the tournament over the weekend, and those first-team players who have been out for various reasons recently.
“We have a good handful of first-team players as part of the squad to give them the extra game-time that they need in preparation for their season.”
Shields will have two remaining fixtures in pre-season following Wednesday’s game – a trip to Tadcaster Albion on Saturday before a match at Cleethorpes Town a week later.
Picton has been frustrated during pre-season so far, with the Mariners unable to field their strongest team due to a mixture of injuries and holiday commitments.
However, he is confident the next fortnight will provide Shields with an excellent opportunity to finish pre-season strongly and go into the campaign in the best shape possible.
He added: “We can now hopefully work together truly as a group.
“It has been frustrating not getting anything near our first-choice starting 11 on the pitch at the same time, but that will now hopefully happen in the training sessions and games until we start the season.”
The post code of the ground is NE35 9HX, with the match to kick-off at 7.30pm.
The fixture is held on an annual basis in honour of former goalkeeper Sam Bartram, who played for Boldon Villa before going on to have a superb career with Charlton Athletic.
South Shields’ squad for the game is as follows: Cameron Armstrong (GK), Elliot Stephenson (GK), Tom Bexton, Ethan Biwer, Gary Brown, Jack Cooper, Jordan Patterson, Ollie Scott, Robert Briggs, Callum Guy, Bailey Judson, Dan Lowther, Lewis Orrell, Karl Ross, Arron Thompson, Gavin Cogdon, Michael Colquhoun, Max Cowburn, Josh Gillies, Lee Mason.
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Former Premier League defender Radhi Jaidi praised all connected with South Shields after leading Southampton to victory in the inaugural South Shields FC International Tournament over the weekend.
The Saints’ Under-23s team defeated hosts Shields 3-0 in Saturday’s semi-final before seeing off the challenge of Olympique de Marseille with a 2-0 victory in Sunday’s final.
Ex-Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Southampton defender Jaidi – who won 105 caps for Tunisia during his playing days – manages the impressive young Saints, and was full of praise for the hosts after a successful weekend.
He posted on Twitter: “Thank you for the warm welcome and hospitality, South Shields FC.
“Great atmosphere and good experience for our boys.
“Happy to win the tournament.”
Southampton’s academy is renowned, having nurtured the likes of Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and numerous other top-flight stars over the last two decades.
The future continues to appear bright at St Mary’s, with a number of youngsters catching the eye over the weekend at Mariners Park, including Jake Hesketh, who scored twice against Shields.
The club would like to thank all involved with Southampton, Marseille and Celtic for visiting Mariners Park, and we hope they all enjoyed the weekend.
IMAGE: Kev Wilson.