South Shields travel to 16th-placed Stafford Rangers on Saturday in their penultimate away league fixture of the 2018-19 campaign.

Here, we take a look at how Rangers have fared so far this season.

The Mariners will be in for another tough test when they travel to relegation-threatened Stafford.

The hosts sit just four points above the relegation zone, having collected 40 points from their 37 games.

More than half of those 40 points have come at their Marston Road home, where Boro have collected 23 of their total points this term.

Rangers have a record of five wins and eight draws from their 18 games played at home this season, which includes a 1-1 draw against Warrington Town in March.

Stafford were unable to take points off Shields’ title rivals Farsley Celtic, however, as the league leaders dispatched Rangers by three goals to one.

The Mariners have made the 392-mile round-trip to Stafford once before, for an FA Trophy tie in November 2017.

Despite Robert Briggs handing Shields an early lead, Massiah McDonald bagged a hat-trick to put the Mariners’ cup run to an end and confined them to defeat.

The only league meeting between the two clubs came way back in August when the Mariners bounced back from a 4-1 defeat to Farsley Celtic.

Gavin Cogdon, Robert Briggs and Carl Finnigan were on target that day as Shields coasted past Boro in a comfortable win.

Rangers currently lie 13th in the form guide over the last six games after taking a total of eight points. Shields, meanwhile sit in second, taking 16 points from six games.

Boro will come into the fixture with confidence on the back of their away victory over Whitby Town, winning by two goals to one to boost their survival hopes.

Saturday afternoon sees South Shields travel to Stafford United in their penultimate away league fixture of the season.

Here, we take a closer look at the recent history of the West Midlands-based club.

The first reference of a football club in Stafford was made in the Staffordshire advertiser in 1876. In 1896, the club moved into their current Marston Road home.

In 1974-75, Rangers defeated Stockport, Halifax and Rotherham on their way to the fourth round of the FA Cup before going out to Peterborough in front of 31,160 supporters at Stoke’s Victoria Ground.

2002-03 saw Stafford finish as runners-up in the Southern Premier League as well as reach the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in a decade.

The next season, Rangers finished third and were promoted into the newly-formed Conference North.

In 2005-06, they won promotion to the Conference Premier thanks to a play-off victory over Droylsden.

Their stay at that level lasted just two years though, before they were relegated back down to the Conference North.

Despite appointing the likes of Steve Bull, Tim Flowers and Matt Elliot the club couldn’t improve their fortunes and they were relegated to the Northern Premier League in 2011-12.

Then in 2015-16 Boro won the Evo-Stik First Division South title, with the club turning a corner both on and off the pitch.

The following season, the club consolidated their position in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, finishing 13th in their first season back, improving on the last season by finishing in 12th position.

The end of the season saw the departure of manager Neil Kitching and most of the playing staff due to the geographical problems caused by the FA’s re-structuring of the non-league pyramid.

Former Stafford striker Steve Burr returned to be club as manager in the summer of 2018 to rebuild the the squad and take the club forward.

He resigned in December 2018, with Alex Meechan and Andy Fearn now in joint charge of the team.

As South Shields prepare to take on Basford United this weekend, we take a look back through the seasons at both clubs’ rise into the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Mariners fans will already be incredibly familiar with their club’s remarkable rise over the last three years.

Three remarkable campaigns have seen the club hit a century of points and three league titles, including a quadruple-winning season in 2016-17.

Basford have also made the step up to the Premier Division for the first time this season after securing the NPL Division One South title last term, also recording a century of points.

While Shields have played in four different leagues in four years, the Canaries featured in six different leagues in six years between 2011 and 2016, a feat the Mariners will be hoping to replicate as they continue their push for the EFL.

In 2011, they joined the National League system by joining the Central Midlands League South Division from the Notts Senior League, which they won in their first season.

They then won step six of the East Midlands Counties league with a record points total and earned promotion to step five.

In 2013-14 they finished fifth in the their first season before being moved sidewards to the newly-formed Midland Football League Premier Division for the 2014-15 season.

They again took the change of leagues in their stride, winning the championship in their first season and earning promotion to the Evo-Stik League for the 2015-16 season.

This season is the first time that Shields and Basford have competed in the same league, with their only previous meeting coming on January 12, 2019, which the Mariners won 0-3.

Goals from David Foley, Dillon Morse and Gavin Cogdon handed the Mariners three points on that occasion, a result which moved Shields level of points with Farsley Celtic.

The Mariners will be hoping for a similar outcome this time, although hopefully the result will move the hosts above the league leaders!