King looks for Mariners response
By Daniel Prince
Jon King has called on his South Shields side to respond to Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to Northallerton Town on Saturday in the best possible way.
The Mariners conceded three late goals as they fell to the heavy defeat in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup, but King is hopeful his team will produce a stronger performance against Whickham at Peterlee.
Shields’ return to league action is a welcome one after the midweek cup disappointment, and they will be boosted by the availability of a number of key players who missed the Northallerton game, including striker Adam Burnicle and captain Barrie Smith.
King is “hopeful” of a positive outcome against Whickham, who sit one place and one point behind Shields in Northern League Division Two.
The Mariners are currently 13th, and a win on Saturday would put further breathing space between themselves and the bottom three, with the current gap seven points.
The manager is expecting a difficult game, but is confident his side will produce a much-improved performance.
He said: “Whickham are one place below us but they have had some really good results, the same as us. It is about who wants it the most.
“All I am asking for is a response, which I am sure we will get.
“No team can do without four or five of their best players like we did on Tuesday, and they should all return against Whickham.
“I’m more hopeful than confident (of a win).
“We are as good as anyone on our day, but it is no good raising your game against better teams if you can’t beat the teams around you.
“We have got to get Tuesday out of our system and we don’t want to dwell on it, so it will be great to have Adam (Burnicle) back, as he did really well on Saturday at North Shields.”
The Mariners’ main injury doubt is striker Dan Hindmarsh, who has scored two goals in three substitute appearances since his arrival on loan from West Auckland.
Hindmarsh was due to play the full game on Tuesday against Northallerton, but missed out due to a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, Smith, Burnicle, Craig Watson and David Bulman should be among the players to be available again after being unable to play in midweek.
The match, at Peterlee’s Eden Lane, kicks off at 3pm.