King admits Shields face “tall order” at Marske

King admits Shields face “tall order” at Marske

By Daniel Prince

Jon King has admitted his South Shields side face a “tall order” tonight when they travel to face Marske United in the Northern League Cup.

Shields have not won any of their last four games, and are set for an extremely difficult task against a side which sits 15th in Division One, with games in hand on all those around them.

The Mariners drew 1-1 with Whickham on Saturday, but although manager King was happy with the point in the end, he felt a win could have been secured before half-time.

Craig Watson’s penalty gave them a deserved first half lead, before Whickham equalised at Peterlee just before half-time as Shields handed them an “early Christmas present”.

King said: “We were by far the better side in the first half and had a few good chances.

“After 44 minutes we were 1-0 up and comfortable but then a crazy backpass from Colin White led to a corner and they scored.

“We gave them an early Christmas present, and they came out a different team in the second half and could have won the game.

“In the end I was happy with a point because they had a couple of good chances they should have capitalised on.

“Whickham are a good side but it is just disappointing because we were so good for the first 44 minutes before we gave them that lift.”

Attention now turns to tonight’s League Cup fixture, and the Mariners will not be helped by the fact a number of players, including captain Barrie Smith, will miss the game due to work commitments.

King has admitted that makes Shields’s task all the more difficult, but is hoping his side gives a good account of itself, perhaps producing a performance similar to the one which defeated Division One outfit Bishop Auckland 2-0 in October.

He added: “It will be a really tough game as they have had a really good start and have only played 15 league games.

“They are a top side with top players and we’ll need a top performance to go there and get anything, but we’re not expected to win so there is no pressure on us.

“With it being so far away, some players will be missing due to work commitments.

“We will be missing our captain, Barrie Smith, which will be a big blow for us. Not everybody will be there but people will get a chance to prove themselves.

“It’s a real tall order, especially without our strongest 11, but no-one expected us to go to Bishop Auckland (in the Durham Challenge Cup), keep a clean sheet and win.

“This should be our last midweek game until February, so it will be nice to get them out of the way and hopefully get a settled side Saturday to Saturday.”

As well as Smith, Kyle Houshby will also miss the game due to work, while a number of others could also be out for the same reason.

Striker Dan Hindmarsh will also be missing as he is on holiday, while Tony Coe is a doubt with a groin injury for the game, which kicks off at Marske’s GER Stadium at 7.30pm.