South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton is expecting a reaction from old friend Martin Carruthers’ Basford United when the in-form Mariners travel to Nottingham on Saturday.
Basford were beaten 8-3 at home by Hyde United last Saturday as their Evo-Stik Premier Division play-off hopes suffered a hit.
They are managed by Carruthers, who Fenton knows well from their time together as players at Aston Villa.
Shields will be looking to extend their 11-match unbeaten run in the league at Mill Street Playing Field, and could go top of the league with a win if other results go their way.
Fenton, though, is wary of the wounded animal.
He said: “I’d rather Basford had won last week because when you come off a game in which you’ve conceded eight goals, you expect a reaction.
“I’m good friends with Martin Carruthers and he’ll be hurting after that result.
“He will have been out on the training pitch with the players this week trying to put things right.
“We don’t look at that scoreline and think that just because they conceded eight goals last week we’re going to do the same to them tomorrow.
“Each game is different and we’ve been reiterating that to the lads this week.
“We go into the game with confidence that we can go and cause them problems and score goals, but we’ve got to be really good at the back to make sure we don’t concede.”
Shields’ last outing saw them win 1-0 at Witton Albion, which was their ninth victory in the last 11 league games.
They sit fourth in the table, three points behind leaders Nantwich Town.
All those above the Mariners dropped points last week, but Fenton insists his full focus is on his own team.
He added: “We keep saying it, but it’s all about ourselves.
“It’s us against us and that’s what we’re judging ourselves on.
“I thought we were right up to our levels last Saturday, especially in the first half, and then we showed real grit and determination in the second half.
“We’ll see what everybody else does but we can only look after ourselves.
“With the form, confidence and togetherness the lads are showing, it’s going to take a good team to beat us.”
Shields go into Saturday’s game without striker Carl Finnigan, who is expected to miss between three and four weeks with an ankle injury.
Long-term injured duo Anthony Callaghan and Barrie Smith remain out.
Kick-off at Mill Street Playing Field – which has a post code of NG6 0LD – is at 3pm