By Daniel Prince
Jon King says the mentality of his South Shields side will be key tomorrow (Saturday) when they travel to Chester-le-Street Town in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
The Mariners go into the game on a high after reaching the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup semi-finals in midweek with a 3-0 win over Birtley Town.
King is expecting a difficult test at Moor Park, though, and wants his team to replicate Tuesday’s performance to get three points on the board.
He said: “Chester-le-Street are a tough side, and I think their manager Colin Wake has done a good job there.
“They were sitting in the top half, but they have slipped to 14th and are not on a great run.
“This league is tough, though, and if we go there with the wrong mentality, we’ll lose.
“We need to go there with a positive mentality if we are to get the result we want, but hopefully the lads can kick on from Tuesday’s performance and go and get three points.
“We won 1-0 against them earlier this season in an even game, and I just hope we’re a bit more clinical tomorrow, as that was the only slightly disappointing aspect on Tuesday.
“It will be a tough game on an awkward pitch. I’ve played there lots of times myself, and at this time of the season, it’ll be heavy.
“Hopefully, we can go there, put another good performance in and get the three points.”
Michael Turner made his debut for Shields at left-back on Tuesday, and King was impressed with what he saw from the former North Shields man.
King added: “It was a fantastic team performance on Tuesday, and it was great to get through to the semi-finals to really keep our season alive.
“Michael Turner was absolutely superb, especially considering he hadn’t played for a couple of months.
“I actually said to him at half-time that I thought he was easing through the game – he didn’t even have a sweat on.
“He’s great in the tackle, gives us a good left foot, gives us balance, he’s a big, strong lad and he’s got excellent experience of playing at a good level.
“I thought he was fantastic, and I’m looking forward to seeing him when he’s had three or four games under his belt.”
Chris Rue and Chris Feasey, who have mostly been used at right-back and left-back respectively this season, were handed more advanced roles in midweek.
King said: “They both give us good experience, and both had a good game on Tuesday.
“I think people sometimes forget Chris Rue is 37 years old. I’ve had him for a long time and he’s a fantastic lad and an excellent player.
“I thought he was excellent against Birtley. He showed his versatility – he can play right-back, centre-half, right midfield, and we put him up-front when Stephen Ramsey had to come off on Tuesday.
“He’s a fantastic lad, an excellent player, and it just shows how well he has looked after himself that he played a game on Saturday and then put in another great performance a few days later.
“It’s credit to him on how he keeps himself.”
David Molloy, Chris Renshaw and Craig Roberts will miss out for Shields tomorrow, while there are doubts over Stephen Ramsey and Chris Locke after they were forced off with injuries in midweek.
Paul Kane and Alex Kempster, meanwhile, could return for the 3pm kick-off at Moor Park.