Match Preview: South Shields vs Radcliffe FC, Evo-Stik North

Match Preview: South Shields vs Radcliffe FC, Evo-Stik North

South Shields return to action on Saturday when they host Radcliffe FC in the Evo-Stik North Division.

The Mariners are two points clear at the top of the table following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at title rivals Hyde United.

They will hope to at least maintain the current gap to Scarborough Athletic and Hyde by picking up maximum points against 16th-placed Radcliffe, who they have yet to face this season.

Kick-off is at 3pm, with the turnstiles to open at 12pm.

Supporters will be able to take advantage of two Happy Hours during the course of the day at Mariners Park.

The first will be between 12.30pm and 1.30pm in the clubhouse and marquee, with the Premier League match between Leicester City and Stoke City to be shown on the TVs.

During those times, pints of Birra Moretti will be £2.50, with Foster’s and John Smith’s both costing £2.

Those drinks will also be the same price in the clubhouse between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.

Ahead of the game, joint manager Lee Picton has heaped praise on vice-chairman and groundsman Gary Crutwell for the work he has carried out on the Mariners Park pitch.

He said: “It’s good to be back at home.

“Graham and I spend virtually every day of our lives at Mariners Park and we’re always casting our eyes over the pitch.

“Gary Crutwell has done an absolutely amazing job with the pitch and it has held up really, really well, thanks in large to the job he has done.

“We’ll have another good surface to play on on Saturday, and we’re thoroughly looking forward to it.”

With the top sides in the division having shown great consistency so far this season, each team is under relentless pressure to pick up maximum points.

For Picton, though, the message is simple.

He added: “We’ve just got to keep focussing on ourselves.

“If we can match the quality of play we showed in the second half on Tuesday from here on in, I’ll be really surprised if we drop too many points between now and the end of the season.”

Shields will again be without left-back Anthony Callaghan, who is set to miss the rest of the season with a back injury.

Gavin Cogdon is closing in on a return from a hamstring injury, while the Mariners are also hopeful of welcoming back Jamie Holmes and Matty Pattison.

Kick-off is at 3pm and admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.