Birtley Preview

By Daniel Prince

Two new signings could make their debut when South Shields travel to Birtley Town for an Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup quarter-final today (Wednesday).

Baptiste Fixot and Michael Turner, who have joined from Durham City and North Shields respectively, will join their new team-mates in trying to keep Shields’ hopes of winning silverware this season alive.

Tomorrow’s fixture was due to be played two weeks ago before being postponed, but the Mariners are eager to get back on the pitch after impressing in their last outing, a 2-1 win at Darlington RA on January 17.

That has given Shields some momentum heading into tonight’s quarter-final, which manager Jon King has described as their “biggest game of the season”.

He said: “It was a very good performance against Darlington RA, which was always going to be a tough game against a very good side.

“The two lads we brought in (Ben Riding and Chris Renshaw) gave everybody a lift, and it was a really good performance, so we got a deserved three points.

“The whole place was buzzing after the game, and the lads were saying afterwards that it was probably the best performance of the season in terms of everyone working really hard for 90 minutes.

“We’ve got to go again now, though, and this is definitely the biggest game of the season so far for us.

“We’re not going to get promoted or relegated, and this is a chance for the club to get some silverware.

“We’ve not had any silverware for a few seasons, but if we get to the final, we will have good support behind us.

“We’re going to do everything we can to get the right result and get through to the next round.

“There are some good sides left, but we have to get over this first hurdle of Birtley, who’ve already beaten us this season.

“They’ve got a very good side and have got a few lads from the college and are quite strong up-front.

“We need to go there and put in a performance like we did against Darlington RA, and if we do that, we’ve shown over the season that on our day we can beat anybody. Hopefully Wednesday is going to be our day.”

King is hoping to have David Molloy back available tonight, but Craig Roberts remains a major doubt for the 7.30pm kick-off at Birtley Sports Complex. Postcode: DH3 2TB.