Heaton Stannington Preview
By Daniel Prince
Jon King says Heaton Stannington will provide a “massive test” for his South Shields side at Peterlee tomorrow (Saturday).
Shields are Ebac Northern League Division Two’s form side, and have won their last six games in all competitions.
The most recent of those was the thrilling 5-3 win over Northallerton Town on Tuesday, which was achieved despite going down to 10 men when Chris Feasey was sent off 10 minutes in.
King has been absent for the last three games due to holiday commitments, but set assistant Lee Bell and his players a challenge before he went away.
That challenge was for the team to win nine points out of nine in his absence, and the manager says credit must go to everyone at the club for achieving just that.
He said: “I set Lee and the lads that target, and Lee said he would do that.
“It’s all credit to the lads and Lee for the last three performances, and hopefully we can just continue with this run of form.
“Tuesday’s result was an unbelievable one for us with 10 men – we’ve been quite unlucky so far this season with red cards.
“When I heard about the sending off, though, I was still confident we could win because of the amount of flair players we had on the pitch. We just needed to stay strong defensively.
“We’re top of the form table now, and everyone is on a high at the moment. If we show this same team morale throughout the season, I’m sure we’ll do really well.”
Midfielder James Talbot continued his fine form on Tuesday by scoring the final goal at Eden Lane, and King says he has been delighted with the youngster’s form.
He added: “James Talbot is doing really well, and I’m chuffed for the lad.
“He was out of favour at the start of the season, but his reaction to that has been an example to everybody.
“If anyone is looking to take a leaf out of somebody’s book, they should do it from James. He has grabbed his chance with both hands.”
Heaton Stannington are the visitors to Peterlee from 3pm tomorrow, and King is expecting a big battle.
He continued: “The next hurdle for us is to make it seven wins in a row, and the next game is always the most important one.
“We need to try and get another result against Heaton Stannington, but to win the last six has been incredible.
“The lads will be up for it again, and it would be fantastic to keep the run going.
“It will be difficult, as although Heaton Stannington haven’t yet hit the heights they did last season, they are getting better and will provide another massive test.”
Confidence in the Shields camp is understandably high at present, but King says it is still important to keep players grounded.
He said: “We’re flying at the moment, and the job of myself and Lee is to keep everyone’s feet on the ground. We don’t want to think too far ahead of ourselves.
“It was an outstanding performance by all accounts on Tuesday, though, and it’s not rocket science – if we play like this, we’re going to give anyone a game.”