Billingham Preview

By Daniel Prince

South Shields and Billingham Town are set to go head-to-head again tomorrow (Saturday) – just four days after their Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup semi-final encounter.

Billingham won the tie 1-0 on Tuesday, leaving the Mariners with just their Ebac Northern League Division Two campaign to concentrate on.

Jon King’s side go into tomorrow’s game 15th in the table, two places ahead of Billingham, and he has set his side a target of finishing in the top 10.

Shields are 12 points off that currently, but King insists it is a goal they can reach as the Mariners move on from their cup disappointment.

The manager said: “We were really disappointed and frustrated after Tuesday’s game, and I was disappointed with our lack of quality on the ball.

“It was a scrappy affair, and I was just disappointed we didn’t play as well as we have in many games recently.

“The cup has gone now, though, and we need to get past that setback.

“Hopefully, we’ll have more chances in the cups in the coming years, but now we have to concentrate on the league.

“We want to try to finish in the top 10, and that’s the challenge I’ve set the players.”

Meanwhile, Shields coach Dave Hall has also insisted that the season is far from over, and says the fact the Mariners are playing Billingham again so soon after Tuesday’s defeat will not add anything extra to the occasion at Peterlee.

He said: “Jon and I spoke to the boys after the game, and we said that our season mustn’t peter out now.

“Our objective is to finish in the top 10 as we try to qualify for next season’s FA Cup.

“The players are fully aware of that, and ironically we have Billingham on Saturday again.

“That doesn’t add anything extra to the game for me, as I take every match on its merits, whether it’s Seaham Red Star, Billingham Town or Tow Law. It doesn’t really make any difference to me.

“The players have to have the same frame of mind, the same attitude and the same commitment.

“We prepare the same as any other game.”

Defender Aron Burn is a doubt for the game after limping off on Tuesday with a hamstring injury, while it is not yet clear whether Paul Kane will be fit enough to play a full part.

Kick-off at Eden Lane is at 3pm.