Match Preview: South Shields vs Mickleover Sports, Evo-Stik Premier Division
South Shields are expected to have a close to full-strength squad to choose from when they welcome Mickleover Sports to Mariners Park on Saturday.
Shields go into the game looking for a sixth win in a row and are expected to be boosted by the return of David Foley, who missed out on last week’s Buildbase FA Trophy tie against Hyde United with a slight knock.
Joint manager Lee Picton has urged the Mariners to keep their focus as they aim to continue their fine form against 18th-placed Mickleover.
They will be looking to improve their current position of sixth, with Shields 10 points behind leaders Scarborough Athletic but with three games in hand.
Picton insists that they can’t look too far ahead as they aim to close that gap.
He said: “It’s a massive cliche, but we’re taking it one game at a time.
“We’ve talked about trying to stop looking too far into the future.
“We’ve had a few ups and downs so far this season and we’ve had little targets here and there, but we got to the stage where we told the lads to just concentrate on winning the next game of football.
“It has served us well to this point.
“We’ve won five games in a row now and we’ve just got to see who comes next and not look beyond the next game.”
Shields are hoping for a bumper crowd at Mariners Park.
Picton added: “The club has made considerable efforts to earmark this game to put some promotions out and try to get a few more people through the gate.
“Hopefully the community will respond to that.
“There are lots of people out there who won’t have tasted the experience of coming to Mariners Park.
“If we can get a few people along who want to do that for the first time and hopefully put up a good show both on and off the pitch as a club, we’ve got something really good to look forward to.
“If we can get three points, we’ll be starting to build up a run and a bit of momentum.
“Let’s see how far it can take us.”
Shields remain without the injured Barrie Smith and Anthony Callaghan, but Gavin Cogdon made his return from a hamstring injury in last week’s game against Hyde United and will be in contention again.
Picton is relishing the competition for places.
He said: “It’s certainly better than the situation we had a few weeks ago, when we had nobody to choose from up front.
“You want to have tough decisions to make and it’s great to have Gavin back.
“We all know that Gavin on form can be more than a handful for any side at this level, so to have that extra option is really good moving into the winter period.”
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.