Heaton Stannington Preview
By Daniel Prince. Main image by Peter Talbot.
South Shields will be looking for a third victory in seven days when they host Heaton Stannington tonight.
The Mariners – who defeated Darlington RA 6-0 on Tuesday – sit second in the Ebac Northern League Division Two table having been overtaken by Team Northumbria, who thrashed Willington 6-0 on Monday.
Shields will go into the game full of confidence following their first clean sheet of the campaign, but manager Jon King is expecting a tough test against a side which defeated Division One outfit Norton and Stockton Ancients 3-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday.
He said: “Heaton Stannington are one of the favourites for promotion, and we went to watch them last week against Thornaby.
“They’ve got some good players, including Jon Jon Wright up front, who gets goals, so we’ll have to be wary of him.
“They’ve got pace down either side as well, and they work really hard.
“They’ll be one of the sides that will be up there at the end of the season, so it’s a big game for us, and hopefully we can get another result.”
Captain Leepaul Scroggins, meanwhile, has called on Shields to create a winning mentality over the coming weeks – and you can see his full thoughts in his programme column for tonight’s game.
He said: “I played against Heaton Stannington last pre-season for Shildon, and they were an organised team with good players.
“I keep saying, though, that it isn’t so much the opposition teams we have to worry about. It’s about whether we can perform.
“I’m convinced that we’ll only lose games this season through our own mistakes, because of the quality we have in the team and the leaders we have in the dressing room.
“If one player is having an off day, we have enough quality elsewhere to bring him through it.
“It will be a hard game, like every match is, because Shields is going to be a big scalp, and people will want to play here in front of the big crowds we get. It’s going to be tough, and we have to be patient.
“Once you develop a winning mentality, you don’t want to let it go. It makes it enjoyable coming to training and games, and the team morale is great.
“A winning mentality is what we need, and what we’re striving to get. It’s difficult, because we’re still learning about each other.
“We haven’t really had a settled starting 11 yet, but once we get that, I think we will only get better.
“It’s still a learning curve for us, and the more games we play, the better we’ll become. It’s about developing that trust in the group, and knowing that players will be backed up.”
Shields are still without the suspended Paul Kane for the 7.30pm kick-off at Mariners Park.