Match Preview: Ossett United vs South Shields, pre-season friendly
South Shields bring their pre-season preparations to an end on Saturday when they travel to Yorkshire to take on Ossett United.
The Mariners have won their last two matches, scoring four goals against both Hebburn Town and Dunston.
But joint manager Lee Picton wants them to step up their level of performance against Ossett.
Shields will kick-off their Northern Premier League Premier Division campaign away to Radcliffe next Saturday.
Picton feels Saturday’s game will be a “relevant” test for his side.
He said: “There have been some mitigating circumstances with some of the things which have been disappointing for us in pre-season.
“I’ve never known a pre-season period where we’ve not been able to put anywhere near our strongest side out at any stage, which has been beyond our control.
“There’s no use crying or moaning about it, though.
“That situation has brought opportunities for some other players, which is great.
“Some players have taken their opportunities and some players haven’t.
“We’ve now got a week to fully prepare for game day number one on August 17.
“Those shirts are up for grabs, and I’m really looking forward to going to Ossett.
“It will be a really relevant test for us away from home and hopefully a few players will be back available for us.”
Shields were 2-1 behind at home to Dunston at half-time last Saturday before a second half turnaround saw them come out 4-2 winners, with Jason Gilchrist netting a hat-trick.
Picton wants his side to pick up where they left off on Saturday.
He added: “We were bitterly disappointed with the first half last Saturday.
“We’ve tried to put a positive spin on a lot of stuff over pre-season, but we have been disappointed with some things that have happened as well.
“We let people know about it at half-time last week and reminded people again after the game.
“The reaction we got in the second half was brilliant and hopefully that’s the start of us regaining that identity on the pitch.
“We’ve talked about building a culture a lot and sometimes you need something to spark that appreciation of what it is to be here at the club again.”
Shields are expected to welcome back goalkeeper Liam Connell on Saturday after he missed the previous three games while on holiday.
Craig Baxter remains missing as he recovers from a hernia operation, with Phil Turnbull also set to miss out because of holiday commitments.
Jon Shaw, Blair Adams, Josh Gillies, Myles Boney, Callum Guy and Lee Mason could all return in the 3pm kick-off.