Match Preview: South Shields vs Billingham Town, Durham Challenge Cup
South Shields will aim to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday when they take on Billingham Town at Mariners Park.
The Mariners, who last won the competition in 2017, are expecting a difficult night against a Billingham side which has adapted well to life in Northern League Division One after winning promotion last season.
Joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton are set to make a number of changes to the side which won 2-0 at Ashton United in the BetVictor Northern Premier Division on Saturday, with Callum Ross expected to make his debut and Luke Daly, Blair Adams, Josh Gillies and Dillon Morse all tipped to be available again.
The returns of Daly (knee), Adams (hamstring) and Gillies (hernia) from their long-term injuries are a timely boost for Shields.
Daly is expected to start Tuesday’s game as he makes his first appearance since limping out of the match against Ashton at Mariners Park in August.
Fenton has paid tribute to the midfielder for the work he has put in behind the scenes with physio Andrew Morris over the last five months.
He said: “This will be Luke’s first involvement in the squad since the game against Ashton in August and we’re so pleased to have him back.
“We’re hugely disappointed to have been without him for the best part of five months but it has been so impressive watching how he has dealt with that setback.
“His enthusiasm and work-rate to get fit has been second to none and he is an example to anyone who suffers a long-term injury as to how to conduct yourself through a hugely disappointing and frustrating time.
“Fingers crossed Luke can stay injury-free throughout the rest of the season and beyond, because he is a huge asset to the squad.”
Kick-off in Tuesday’s game at Mariners Park is at 7.30pm and admission prices have been reduced to £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s. Please come and cheer the lads on if you can.
The winners face a home quarter-final against Newton Aycliffe or Stockton Town, both of whom are flying high in the Northern League.
Shields go into the game without Wouter Verstraaten, who is cup-tied.
South Shields squad vs Billingham Town (from): Ross Coombe, Blair Adams, Craig Baxter, Kieran Charlton, Ben Errington, Dillon Morse, Mathew Wade, Luke Daly, Josh Gillies, Callum Guy, Will Jenkins, Callum Ross, Millenic Alli, Sefton Gonzales, Sam Hodgson, Lee Mason.