Match Preview: Bishop Auckland vs South Shields
South Shields face a tough trip to Bishop Auckland on Saturday as they aim to maintain their excellent form.
The Mariners have won their last seven games in all competitions, which has seen them make progress in the FA Vase and Durham Challenge Cup, as well as the league.
It is Northern League Division One which will be back to the forefront of the minds on Saturday against a Bishops side playing catch-up.
Their exploits in the FA Cup, which saw them reach the fourth qualifying round before being beaten by Stockport County, mean they have played six less league games than Shields.
That leaves them 19 points behind, in ninth, so they will be determined to turn the tables on the Mariners and start to reduce that deficit.
Shields, meanwhile, continue to chase neighbours North Shields, with five points separating the sides ahead of next Saturday’s derby at Mariners Park. The Robins have played a game more.
Mariners joint manager Lee Picton is expecting a difficult match at Heritage Park on Saturday.
He said: “Myself and Martin Scott went to watch Bishop Auckland last week, so we’ve identified a few things that hopefully we can use tactically against them on Saturday.
“They’ve got a few games in hand, but have picked up some decent points already and it will be a tough test for us.”
The fixture comes almost a year to the day since Shields won 2-1 at Bishops in the FA Vase, with Ben Riding and Warren Byrne on the scoresheet.
Defender Dillon Morse feels the Mariners are ready for the challenge ahead on Saturday.
He said: “It’s a big game. They’ve been doing well so far, and they did well in the FA Cup.
“A few of my pals play for them, so it’s a big game and hopefully we can get the three points.”
Shields will be without the injured Gavin Cogdon, Louis Storey and Joss Carmichael for the 3pm kick-off at Heritage Park, which has a post code of DL14 9AE.
Ahead of the game, Bishop Auckland have released some important parking information for supporters, which can be read here.