Match Preview: FC United of Manchester vs South Shields, The Pitching In Northern Premier League
South Shields travel to FC United of Manchester on Saturday to kick-off a potentially decisive double-header in the battle for the Pitching In Northern Premier League title (3pm kick-off).
It is the first of two games in three days for the Mariners, who host Whitby Town on Easter Monday.
It could prove to be a crucial weekend, with Kevin Phillips’ side to have just one more league match remaining after it.
They go into Saturday sitting second in the table, two points behind leaders Buxton as the race for the one automatic promotion spot reaches an exciting climax.
FC United are sure to provide difficult opponents, with Neil Reynolds’ team needing the points in their bid for a play-off place. The reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 draw at 1st Cloud Arena in August, with Cedric Main scoring for the Reds before joining Shields two months later.
The manager’s view
Phillips has highlighted the importance of Saturday’s fixture as he aims for a second away victory in his time in charge, having beaten Warrington Town 2-1 in his first match as manager in January.
He said: “I don’t need to tell anyone that our away form needs to improve, but the players are full of confidence after last weekend’s win over Stalybridge Celtic and hopefully they will step up to the plate again with a really good performance.
“It will be a tough game, as every match in this league is, but we go into it confident of getting a positive result.
“We certainly won’t win if we don’t believe in ourselves, so that will be key.
“I’m aware that quite a lot of our supporters are also going to the game so there should be a great atmosphere, and we’re looking forward to it.
“If I was a player preparing for this game I’d be buzzing with excitement.”
Shields expect to have Blair Adams and Jordan Hunter available after they were substituted in last Saturday’s 4-0 win over Stalybridge Celtic as a precaution.
They remain without Callum Ross, who will miss the rest of the season as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.
Kick-off at Broadhurst Park – which has a post code of M40 0FJ – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £7 for over-60s, students and those in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit, £3 for under-18s and free for under-fives with a paying adult.
The two sets of supporters will be segregated, with Shields fans asked to enter the ground through turnstiles nine to 12. Full details can be read via this link.
Live updates will be posted on the club’s Twitter account and the Mariners Live team will also be on hand to provide live commentary. You can tune in by clicking here.