Hyde United vs South Shields
South Shields travel to Hyde United on Saturday as the Pitching In Northern Premier League campaign continues.
The two sides experienced contrasting opening days, with Shields defeating Mickleover 3-0 at 1st Cloud Arena while Hyde were beaten 2-0 at Gainsborough Trinity.
The capacity of Ewen Fields has been set at 600 for the fixture, 90 of which have been set aside for Shields supporters. Most of them were sold from the club office at 1st Cloud Arena during the week but a limited number of tickets remain available by clicking here. Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended.
Supporters are advised that parking is expected to be at a premium at Ewen Fields, with enough space to accommodate the official team coach only. Supporters’ coaches and cars will need to be parked away from the ground.
In usual circumstances, the adjacent car park at the leisure centre on Walker Lane would be used for matchday parking, but the sight is undergoing some building works and being used as a flu jab centre, so the normal space there is also limited.
Shields go into the game in high spirits, having followed up their win over Mickleover with a victory on penalties over Warrington Town in the Emirates FA Cup in midweek.
Joint manager Lee Picton said: “The overriding emotion from myself, Graham (Fenton) and all the staff on Tuesday was one of absolute pride.
“There were a lot of different things thrown at us, but the lads showed a huge amount of courage with and without the ball.
“We asked the whole team to find higher levels than they showed last Saturday, when we were obviously pleased with the result but felt there was a lot more to come.
“We got that in bucket-loads on Tuesday, when the intensity and quality of the play was brilliant.”
Hyde were beaten 2-0 on the opening day by Gainsborough Trinity last Saturday, but beat Shields in the sides’ only meeting last season and have been involved in several tight tussles with the Mariners over recent years.
Their manager, Dave McGurk, is an individual Picton says he has “huge respect” for.
He knows the kind of test which awaits Shields on Saturday.
Picton added: “Dave will have his side well-organised and they have a few new faces in their camp this season.
“They will provide without doubt another really tough test for us on the road.
“It’s also on an artificial surface, which brings another different challenge to us but we’re thoroughly looking forward to the game and go into it with a huge amount of confidence.”
Shields have a doubt over Sam Hodgson, who limped off in Tuesday’s game with a knock picked up in the first half.
His replacement at Cantilever Park was Darius Osei, who is finding his way back to full fitness after missing much of pre-season through injury.
Picton said: “There’s no secret that Darius Osei has had one or two little injury issues.
“We felt we just had to do the sensible thing with him at Warrington.
“He has had a little bit of a lay-off and got through about 65 minutes on Saturday.
“To put him straight in the firing line again three days later and potentially ask him to play 90 minutes, we felt would be a bit too much of a risk given his quality and the impact we feel he could have on the rest of the season for us.
“When he came on he was fantastic, as were so many – if not all – of our players with the way they went about their business.”
Kick-off at Ewen Fields is at 3pm.