Match Preview: South Shields vs Gainsborough Trinity
Two of the Evo-Stik Premier Division’s top eight go head-to-head at Mariners Park on Saturday as South Shields take on Gainsborough Trinity.
Gainsborough, who were relegated from the National League North last season, are sixth going into the match, having picked up 23 points from their opening 11 matches.
Shields are two points and two places behind their opponents, who they will look to leapfrog by maintaining their 100% home record.
They are aiming to bounce back from two consecutive defeats, having been beaten at Hednesford Town and Hyde United over the last seven days.
Joint manager Graham Fenton is looking for a reaction from his side in Saturday’s 3pm kick-off.
He said: “We’ve got to respond, because there’s no hiding place.
“Hopefully the lads will reflect that we’ve had a really successful three-year period and we are going through a process at the moment.
“It’s difficult to deal with, because a lot of the lads have been used to winning games of football consistently.
“We’re in a bad place at the moment, but there have been many good teams before who have been in bad places and worked through it.”
Gainsborough were relegated from the National League North last season, and are along with Shields one of the favourites for promotion.
Fenton is expecting a stern test – and insists Shields’ home record matters little.
He added: “We’re looking forward to it, but we can’t expect that just because we’re playing at Mariners it is all going to be hunky dory and we’re just going to turn up and win.
“We’re desperate to get back on home soil and want to try to create a bit of momentum, but we have to really go at it tomorrow to make sure we get the three points.
“We’ve had a couple of reports on Gainsborough and they’ll be there or thereabouts this season, so there’s no doubt it’s going to be a tough game.
“There aren’t many easy games in this league, though.
“We’ve got to get ourselves in a really positive frame of mind to go at it.”
Shields go into the match without Gavin Cogdon, Anthony Callaghan and Barrie Smith, but could welcome back Jon Shaw, Lee Mason, Phil Turnbull and Darren Lough.
Kick-off is at 3pm and admission – which can be paid at the turnstiles – is £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.