Match Preview: South Shields vs Colne, Emirates FA Cup
South Shields begin their latest Emirates FA Cup campaign with a home fixture against Colne on Saturday.
The Mariners are expected to be handed a double boost ahead of the match, with striker Jason Gilchrist available for selection after serving a suspension and captain Jon Shaw also expected to be in contention to make his comeback from a hamstring injury.
Both players have missed the Mariners’ last three games but their return will add to Shields’ strength in depth – and provide several selection dilemmas for joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton.
They remain without Luke Daly (knee) and striker Jordan Annear will also miss Saturday’s match as he is cup-tied, but Shields are expected to have a strong squad to choose from at Mariners Park.
It’s something which has added to the positive mood around the camp following last Saturday’s 4-1 league victory over Bamber Bridge.
Picton said: “We were really happy with many aspects of the performance against Bamber Bridge a week ago.
“We genuinely feel that we are on the right track and yet also feel that there is so much more to come from this group, which is a really exciting feeling to have.
“There is massive competition for places now all across the pitch, and apart from Luke Daly we pretty much have a clean bill of health, which gives us great options ahead of Saturday’s game.
“It provides myself and Graham with somewhat of a headache, but it’s definitely a nice headache to have when you compare it to the situation we were in only a few weeks ago with so many players unavailable.”
Shields enjoyed a memorable run to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup two years ago, beating the likes of Darlington and York City along the way.
They will be looking to achieve something similar this time around, although Picton is taking nothing for granted against Colne, who are a division below the Mariners.
He added: “As we all know, the FA Cup is a unique and incredible competition, particularly for non-league clubs.
“Every year it brings with it a hope and dream of making a name for yourself, and we have some great memories from our exploits in the competition two seasons ago, when we made it to the fourth qualifying round by beating the likes of Darlington and York City.
“While we can dream about the many possibilities which may lie ahead, we must really focus all of our attention on this match and give Colne the respect that they deserve.
“If we get our side of things right, both myself and Graham are massively confident we can get the right result and look forward to the draw for the next round on Monday.
“It’s such an exciting competition to be involved in and we want to remain in it as long as possible.”
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.
Tickets can be bought at the turnstiles on matchday or online before midnight on Friday by clicking here.
The turnstiles will open at 12.30pm and there will be Happy Hours in operation from 12.30pm until 1.30pm, and 5pm to 6pm. England’s European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria will be shown on the TVs at 5pm.