Match Preview: South Shields vs Atherton Collieries, BetVictor Northern Premier Division

Match Preview: South Shields vs Atherton Collieries, BetVictor Northern Premier Division

South Shields are looking to make it seven league wins on the bounce when Atherton Collieries visit Mariners Park on Saturday.

The Mariners’ excellent form has seen them open up an early six-point lead at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division.

They have conceded just four goals in their 10 games so far to get their noses in front in the early league table.

Joint manager Picton insists that is just a start, though, and that the Mariners cannot afford any complacency against a dangerous, newly-promoted opponent on Saturday.

He said: “We’re back at home and we’ve got to make sure that we keep our standards super high.

“I’m sure that teams come to Mariners and almost see it as a free hit, which can be really dangerous.

“We’ve already been stung this season at home twice, against Hyde and in the FA Cup against Colne, so we know that it’s never just a given.

“No matter where you are and no matter who you are, it’s never a given to win a game.

“Nobody has a divine right to win a game of football and we certainly don’t.

“Atherton will find that extra 10 or 15% that most teams do when they come to our place, and we’ve got to be right at our best to get three points.”

Picton insists there are still plenty of aspects for Shields to improve on, particularly on the ball.

But he is buoyed by the progression the side has shown over the last year.

He added: “We’re not even a quarter of the way through the season.

“We’re considerably better off in terms of points tally compared to this time last year, and the challenge is to keep being really solid in terms of the number of chances and goals we concede, and to start to find our feet with the ball.

“We’re really confident that we’re going to do that now in terms of our in possession play.

“If we can get the combination of those two things right we’re going to be a real handful for anybody.”

Captain Jon Shaw and midfielder Adam Thurston are battling to be fit for the game after missing out on Tuesday’s win at FC United with knocks picked up against Buxton three days earlier, but Luke Daly remains out with his knee injury.

Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12.30pm, with Happy Hours to be in operation from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, and from 5pm to 6pm.

Turnstile admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s. Discounted tickets are available to buy before midnight on Friday by clicking here.