Match Preview: South Shields vs Radcliffe, BetVictor Northern Premier Division
Two of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division’s top five go head-to-head on Saturday as South Shields welcome Radcliffe to Mariners Park.
The match is the reverse of both sides’ opening fixture of the season, when the Mariners won 1-0 at newly-promoted Radcliffe thanks to a stunning long range goal from Robert Briggs.
Both teams have since established themselves as promotion contenders, with leaders Shields going into Saturday’s game four points better off than fifth-placed Radcliffe, who are in superb form.
A tight encounter is expected at Mariners Park.
Shields joint manager Lee Picton said: “You could argue that Radcliffe have been the in-form team in the league over the last two months and they have shot up the table.
“They come into their trip here as one of the genuine contenders for the title so we know we’re in for a difficult battle.”
Shields’ last outing saw them beaten 3-1 at Southport in a Buildbase FA Trophy first round replay on Tuesday, but Picton feels they can take plenty of positives from the tie overall.
He added: “There were a huge number of positives to come out of the games in my opinion.
“I thought that in the first match at home, it was clear to see for anyone in attendance that we deserved more than a replay after playing some really courageous and exciting football, particularly in the second half.
“We travelled to Southport for the replay in difficult conditions and again produced a performance that belied our supposed inferiority in the non-league pyramid after we were quite dominant for long spells.
“It’s no secret that we have had to deal with a huge number of injuries recently, and we went into the replay without a host of players.
“Through that adversity comes opportunities for others, and we have seen the likes of our own Academy products such as Kieran Charlton, Arron Thompson, Will Jenkins and Sam Hodgson absolutely grasp those chances with both hands, which has filled myself and Graham with immense pride and optimism for the future at the club.”
Shields go into the Radcliffe match with a number of injury concerns, with Myles Boney, Jordan Hunter, Gary Brown, Blair Adams, Lee Mason, Luke Daly and Josh Gillies all set to miss out, along with the suspended Nathan Lowe.
Callum Guy is available after being recalled from his loan at West Auckland Town, while Adam Thurston is expected to be available again after a hamstring injury.
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. Discounted tickets can be bought before midnight on Friday by clicking here.
The usual Happy Hours will be in operation from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, and between 5pm and 6pm, with live Premier League football to be shown on the TVs.