By Daniel Prince
Jon King is expecting South Shields to face a step up in class when they come up against Chester-le-Street Town at Peterlee tomorrow (Saturday).
Shields are on a terrific run, having won their last four games in all competitions.
However, manager King is refusing to get carried away, and believes Chester-le-Street will provide a stern test of his side’s credentials at Eden Lane.
He said: “Saturday is the start of a run of games against tougher opposition.
“Chester-le-Street finished in the top half last season, and I expect them to be up there this time around.
“We played well against Hebburn and Ryhope, who will also both be up there, and if we can perform well and pass the ball well, I am sure we can beat anyone in this league.
“However, my job is to keep the players’ feet on the ground, as no disrespect to the teams we have just beaten, but those were games we were expected to win.
“The next three games – against Chester-le-Street, Northallerton Town and Heaton Stannington – are going to really test us, and we’ll see where we are after that.”
Shields came out 5-3 on top at Brandon United in midweek as they completed a quickfire Ebac Northern League Division Two double over their opponents.
The Mariners were 4-0 up with nine minutes to play, but a Brandon comeback made it a nervy ending for King’s side.
He was delighted to come away with the three points, though, as Shields kept their impressive run going.
King added: “We would have taken an away win before the game whichever way it came.
“It kept the run going, and everyone is happy.
“We were in control and let it slip a bit, but it was another win and we move onto the next game now.”
Shields are sixth in the league heading into tomorrow’s game, while Chester-le-Street are 14th.
King is expecting a “tough” test at Peterlee, and added: “Chester-le-Street are a good side.
“They lost their centre-forward Damien Stevens in the summer, but they are scoring goals.
“They’re a tough side, as they proved last season, so it will be difficult. It will be a harder game than the last few we have played.”
The match will see a quick return to Peterlee for Jordan Fraser, who left Shields for Chester-le-Street last month.
King was disappointed to see Fraser go, but is looking forward to seeing him again tomorrow.
He said: “Jordan was another lad I would have liked to have as part of the squad this season.
“I think they are playing him up front, so it will be interesting to see where he does play.
“It will be good for the lads to see Jordan, as he’s a good lad, but hopefully we can send him packing without any points.”
Shields are not thought to have any new injury issues ahead of the game, but Kyle Houshby will again be unavailable as he is on holiday.
Kick-off at Peterlee’s Eden Lane is at 3pm.