Match Preview: Lancaster City vs South Shields, Evo-Stik Premier Division
South Shields could climb as high as second in the Evo-Stik Premier Division on Saturday – but joint manager Lee Picton has warned it might not be pretty.
The Mariners have won five and drawn one of their last six league games to close in on the teams above them.
Ahead of tomorrow’s match at 17th-placed Lancaster City, Shields are sixth, nine points behind leaders Nantwich Town with four games in hand.
Despite their impressive form, Picton insists the Mariners are expecting nothing less than a tough encounter with Lancaster.
He has urged his players to find a way to win in what might be difficult conditions.
Picton said: “Everybody knows the situation we’re in with regards to the landscape of the table.
“We’re not at the stage of the season where it’s a must-win game, but at the same time you’ve got to go to places like Lancaster – and it’s definitely going to be tough – and find a way.
“You look back at games last season, like the one at Droylsden on an utter quagmire, and you have to find a way.
“We did on the day last season at Droylsden and it may not be pretty at Lancaster, but it’s up to us to come up with the right formula and the right blend that give us the qualities we need to get the three points.
“We’ve just got to give it everything we’ve got.”
Shields won 2-1 at Chester-le-Street in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday to set up a quarter-final against Sunderland RCA.
Picton was unimpressed with the general performance of the Mariners, and is calling for a marked improvement on Saturday.
He added: “The result was a positive, but there were lots of things we weren’t particularly happy about.
“There were some players on the pitch who were really trying to stake a claim for a shirt on Saturday, and we felt others didn’t do nearly enough.
“It provided us with food for thought.
“Now we need to come up with the right formula that we feel is going to get us the right result at Lancaster.
“We need players that are going to show better levels than we showed on Tuesday, because the pitch that we had to contend with is one that will be similar to a number of pitches we’re going to face between now and the end of the season.
“We can’t play on Mariners Park every week and have to find the right blend, formula and characteristics to get the right results on whatever surface we play on.”
Shields will be without long-term absentees Barrie Smith and Anthony Callaghan at Lancaster, but should have an otherwise full-strength squad to select from.