Match Preview: Radcliffe vs South Shields, Northern Premier League Premier Division
South Shields get their Northern Premier League Premier Division campaign underway with a trip to newly-promoted Radcliffe on Saturday.
The Mariners finished second in the division last year and have been bolstered by the arrivals of the likes of Adam Thurston, Jason Gilchrist, Millenic Alli, Robinson Wokoma and Myles Boney during the off season.
They will be looking to get off to a strong start against a Radcliffe team which has momentum, having achieved promotion last season.
Shields joint manager Graham Fenton insists his side is in for a tough opening fixture.
He said: “Radcliffe are going to be well-organised.
“We know the lads there and it will be a tough game.
“We’ve come up with a gameplan to try to win the game, but we’re going to need the same attributes we showed last Saturday at Ossett in terms of our style when needed, particularly away from home, and when we get our opportunities to play use them.”
Shields ended their pre-season programme with an impressive 5-0 win at Ossett United last Saturday.
They head into the Radcliffe game in fine goalscoring form, having scored 13 goals in their last three matches, with seven of those notched by Gilchrist.
Fenton wants to see his team replicate the kind of performance they showed at Ossett as they bid to make a flying start to their league campaign.
He added: “It was a really satisfying way to end pre-season.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes on values and what it takes to be a well-regarded South Shields player.
“We thought the lads did ever so well in that regard last Saturday.
“We were scratching around for a bit of form in pre-season and injuries didn’t help, but as a group we’ve all been working hard behind the scenes to try to get it as close as possible to our top levels, and we hit that on Saturday.”
Shields are hoping to welcome back a number of players for the 3pm kick-off, including captain Jon Shaw, Phil Turnbull and Lee Mason. Craig Baxter continues to miss out as he recovers from a hernia operation.
The teams last met in the 2017-18 season in the Northern Premier League North Division.
Radcliffe held Shields to a 0-0 draw at Mariners Park but the Mariners turned on the style in the reverse fixture, winning 4-0 as they sealed the league title.
Radcliffe play at Neuven Stadium, based on Colshaw Close, which has a post code of M26 3PE.