Duo agree returns

By Daniel Prince

Crowd favourites Leepaul Scroggins and Jonny Wightman have agreed returns to South Shields for the 2015-16 season.

The pair, who were both part of the League Cup-winning side of 2010, will join from Shildon and Dunston respectively.

They are the club’s first additions since it was announced Shields would be back at Filtrona Park – soon to become Mariners Park – from next season.

Scroggins, who lives in the town, had a successful spell at the club between 2007 and 2011, and captained the Mariners.

He was the skipper for the League Cup win – and scored in the final – and in all, netted 53 times in 143 games in his first spell at the club.

The midfielder is now 33, and will join Shields on the back of a successful season at Shildon, having finished second in Ebac Northern League Division One and won both the League Cup and Durham Challenge Cup.

Reflecting on his return to Shields, Scroggins said: “It’s good to be back.

“I left for Whitley Bay in 2011 as I felt that was the right time to move on, but now the time is right for me to come back.

“It’s great that the club is moving back to Filtrona Park, which is the main thing. The town is buzzing, and there are big expectations.

“It would be nice to finish my career here. I’m 33 now, so it’d be nice to finish my career at South Shields and try to get the club into the First Division, because that’s the main aim.

“I was thinking about retiring. I have done for the last two years, and I really was going to retire this year, but I spoke to (vice-chairman) Gary Crutwell and (manager) Jon King, and I think I owe South Shields another year or two to see if I can help them back into the First Division.

“We’ll see what happens after that, but the main aim is to get into the First Division.”

Forward Wightman, meanwhile, is rejoining his hometown club from another Division One side, Dunston.

The 31-year-old was at the club between 2008 and 2013, scoring 47 times in 146 appearances.

He said: “I’m over the moon to be back at the club. I couldn’t be happier.

“The only reason I left in the first place was to stay in Division One, and it will be a different challenge going into Division Two, but hopefully we’ll be challenging at the top end, so it’ll be good.

“There’s something special about playing for your hometown club, and I’m over the moon to get the chance again, especially with the club being back in South Shields.”

*Keep your eyes peeled over the next few days for video interviews with Leepaul and Jonny on Mariners TV*