Birtley Town Preview

By Daniel Prince

South Shields will look to get back on the winning track tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel to face Birtley Town.

The Ebac Northern League Division Two match, which will be played at Birtley Sports Complex, will kick-off at 3pm.

Shields have won just one of their last nine league games, but were unfortunate to lose 2-1 to Whickham at Peterlee last week.

They will be eager to bounce back against Birtley, who are 14th in the table, two places and two points above the Mariners.

Chris Feasey – who missed last week’s loss to Whickham – is expected to be fit again for Shields, meaning he is set to make his 250th appearance for the club.

However, the Mariners will be without the suspended trio Barrie Smith, Stephen Ramsey and Lee Maitland.

New signing Daniel Reeves is in contention to make his debut, though, after completing his move from Horden CW earlier in the week.

Paul Kane and David Molloy – who have scored 26 goals between them so far this season – are expected to line-up alongside each other up-front again for the Mariners.

It is a partnership Shields manager Jon King has been delighted with, and it has become especially important during the recent absence of Ramsey.

King said: “David, Paul and Stephen have done very well for us this season, so we’re strong in the striking area.

“Unfortunately, Stephen is suspended at the moment, but in Paul and David we have got two lads up-front who have scored about 25 goals between them this season, so if we give them chances, they have proved they will take them.

“We had a lot of play in the final third last Saturday, but didn’t quite manage to create enough, so that is something for us to work on in tomorrow’s game.”

In the same fixture last season, Birtley triumphed 3-1 in a match that was played between Christmas and New Year. Just three of the Shields players who took part in that game remain at the club.

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Meanwhile, the club is hosting a talk-in with Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips next month. Full details are available by clicking on this paragraph.