Match Preview: South Shields vs Nantwich Town, Evo-Stik Premier Division
South Shields are bidding to maintain their 100% home record in the Evo-Stik Premier Division on Saturday when they welcome Nantwich Town to Mariners Park.
The Mariners have beaten Witton Albion and Stafford Rangers on home soil so far, but have twice tasted defeat on the road.
They will be hoping that a return to home comforts will help to inspire them to maximum points against a Nantwich side which has started the season in impressive form.
The Dabbers have picked up seven points from their four matches, and sit third in the table.
Shields joint manager Graham Fenton is expecting a difficult encounter.
He said: “Nantwich have had a good start to the season and I’m sure that they’ll provide a big test for us.
“So far, one aspect of this league seems to be that anyone can beat anyone.
“We know how tough it is and certainly won’t be taking any game for granted.
“The main positive going into this match for us is that it’s at Mariners Park.
“We’re hoping there will be a big crowd and I’m sure the supporters will help to motivate the lads as they aim to get a positive result on the board.”
Shields have lost both of their away games so far by a three-goal margin.
They were beaten 4-1 at Farsley Celtic after being reduced to nine men, and also lost 3-0 at North Ferriby United on Monday.
Fenton is looking for his players to show more character.
He added: “We’ve been struggling a little bit with our away form recently, which stretches back to pre-season.
“The first five minutes of Monday’s game were really positive for us and we were looking sharp, but they scored and that knocked us back quite a bit.
“We have to make sure that when we have those setbacks, it doesn’t affect us as much psychologically as it is at the moment.
“We contributed to our own downfall with the goals we conceded, although we have to give North Ferriby a lot of respect and credit for what they did, because they worked exceptionally hard.
“They didn’t play great football, but they had two willing runners up top who never stopped working for them.
“They had lots of energy all over the pitch and unfortunately, we didn’t have enough on the day to match that.”
Shields are confident of welcoming captain Jon Shaw back from injury for the 3pm kick-off at Mariners Park.
They will be without suspended duo Carl Finnigan and Gary Brown, though, as well as the injured Barrie Smith and Anthony Callaghan. Lee Mason is a doubt.
Admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s. Tickets can be bought at the turnstiles or in advance by clicking here.