Match Preview: South Shields vs Matlock Town, Evo-Stik Premier Division
South Shields joint manager Lee Picton is expecting an emotional day as the Mariners get ready to pay tribute to one of their own on Saturday.
A minute’s silence will be held ahead of the game against Matlock Town at Mariners Park in memory of 10-year-old Jak Fada, who passed away just over a year ago.
The club has earmarked it as Jak Fada Day, with all children accompanied by an adult to be given free entry to the ground.
It also promises to be a difficult match for Shields against a Matlock side which has not been beaten since September.
Picton said: “It will be a poignant day for everyone connected to the club.
“Jak was well-known to so many people here and his passing affected us all.
“As Jak’s family will testify, the football club was a very special place for him, and that is a constant reminder to all of us as to the opportunity we have to potentially impact people of all ages in a massively positive way.
“I know everybody will want to pay their heartfelt respects during the minute’s applause ahead of the game, and as a club we hope we can do justice to the memory of Jak before, during and after the match.”
Shields and Matlock last met in September, with the Mariners running out comfortable 3-0 winners.
The Gladiators have improved significantly since then, though, under new manager Dave Frecklington.
They go into Saturday’s match in eighth, just one place behind Shields.
Picton is expecting a tough encounter.
He added: “Matlock will provide another massively stern test for us as a squad.
“Matlock have been the in-form side over the last couple of months, and will undoubtedly come to Mariners Park full of confidence and ready to go toe-to-toe with us.
“Because of the slip-ups we’ve had so far this season in the league, especially away from home, we’re obviously not in the position we would have liked to have been in after 16 games, so we must look to continue our mini winning run in the league with another three points tomorrow.”
Shields remain without injured duo Anthony Callaghan and Barrie Smith, while Nathan Lowe will serve a one-match suspension on Saturday.
The Mariners are hopeful Carl Finnigan and Blair Adams will shrug off knocks to play.
Kick-off is at 3pm and admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults and £8 for students and over-65s.
Under-16s can enter for free, with a maximum of two free children per one paying adult.