Lee Picton is relishing a selection headache as South Shields look to maintain their promotion push on Saturday.
The Mariners have won eight of their last 10 league games and drawn the other two to put themselves into a strong position in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
They head into Saturday’s match at Witton Albion sitting fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Nantwich Town with three games in hand.
Shields beat North Ferriby United 6-2 on New Year’s Day in a game which saw the likes of Gary Brown and Josh Gillies drafted into the starting line-up by joint managers Picton and Graham Fenton.
They have some tough choices to make on Saturday.
Picton said: “We shuffled the pack a little bit on Tuesday and brought Gary Brown in because Craig Baxter wasn’t feeling 100%, and I thought Gary was brilliant.
“We brought Josh Gillies in with Carl Finnigan dropping down to the bench, and Josh did some fantastic things as well.
“We always want players to be pushing each other on and creating really strong competition across all areas of the squad.
“There are going to be some really tough decisions for myself and Graham to make ahead of the game at Witton.”
Witton are 14th in the table but have numerous games in hand on all those teams around them.
They won 1-0 at leaders Nantwich last time out and also enjoyed an impressive run in the FA Cup, beating National League North high-flyers Spennymoor Town on the way.
Picton knows his side are in for a tough test.
He added: “Not only have they beaten Nantwich recently, but they knocked Spennymoor out of the FA Cup this season.
“We know that on their day they are a side which will be capable of producing a result in any game.
“We’ve got to take the real positives that we can draw from the Christmas and New Year period, apply the same levels and take the confidence we’ve accrued from that period into the Witton match.
“If we can do that, we’ve got a great chance of hopefully picking up three points.”
Shields go into the match without long-term injured duo Anthony Callaghan and Barrie Smith.
Kick-off at Wincham Park – which has a post code of CW9 6DA – is at 3pm. Admission prices are £10 for adults, £7 for over-65s and disabled supporters, £5 for those aged 16 to 21 and £2 for under-16s.
It could prove to be an important day for the Mariners, with second-placed Farsley Celtic coming up against third-placed Warrington Town and Nantwich facing a tough trip to Gainsborough Trinity.
South Shields FC Foundation is excited to announce the appointment of Nathan Kew, its second employee.
Nathan, 20, has joined the Foundation to lead its programme delivery as part of the club’s aim to grow its community impact and extend its offering in schools.
He is no stranger to the Foundation or the club, with Nathan already having a coaching role with our Under-16s team.
Nathan is now writing and developing a bespoke primary education programme which will be formally launched at a schools conference at The Word in South Shields on February 15, where there will also be a discussion around primary school physical education.
More details about the conference and how schools and nurseries can register their interest in attending will be announced soon.
Nathan, from Primrose, Jarrow, is an experienced primary education coach and currently works within the foundation phase at a Category 1 football academy. He has developed and delivered early years programmes in the past.
He said: “I’m delighted to have been given this opportunity to join such a progressive and fast-growing club.
“It’s an exciting job and challenge, and one I’m looking forward to starting.
“The aim is to develop a high level programme which provides bespoke and quality PE to schools that are interested in working closely with the Foundation and the club.
“We want to provide children with the best possible experiences in football and learning.”
Nathan is the Foundation’s second employee, with Zak Turner-Cooke having been appointed as an apprentice in October 2018.
His role will increase the club’s community impact and add sustainable income streams for the Foundation.
It will also grow our relationship with schools in South Tyneside, a number of which have enjoyed player visits in recent weeks as part of our Project EFL aspirations and our desire to attract supporters of the future.
The programmes developed by Nathan – which will link to school and national curriculum – will see a number of schools and nurseries participate in literacy, numeracy and movement provisions under his expert lead.
Nathan will also lead next month’s conference at The Word, which will be designed to grow and develop the schools programme.
Professionals from the primary school setting are invited to join us at the conference, with details of how they can apply for a place to be revealed soon.
South Shields FC Foundation manager Steve Camm said: “We’re delighted to have Nathan here as part of the growth and development of the Foundation.
“This is the next logical step for us to build on the matchday experience programme we have been offering to schools recently and a statement of our intention to grow and develop the work that we already do in schools.
“Nathan is exactly the right person to lead on the programme.
“His enthusiasm, commitment and experience fit with what we’re trying to achieve as a club and we’re really looking forward to him getting started.”