South Shields kick-off 2018 with a mouth-watering clash with promotion rivals Scarborough Athletic at Mariners Park on New Year’s Day.
A big crowd is expected as two of the Evo-Stik North Division’s best-performing clubs go head-to-head in the 3pm kick-off.
It will be the third meeting between the sides this season, with the Mariners having come out on top in both the league and Buildbase FA Trophy at the Flamingo Land Stadium earlier in the campaign.
However, they know that they will be in for another tough encounter with Boro, who are third in the table, three points behind Shields having played two games more.
Should he be selected, Shields captain Julio Arca will make his 100th appearance for the club in Monday’s game.
The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder joined the Mariners in September 2015, and has enjoyed a remarkable time at the club, winning five trophies in the last two-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, Aksel Juul could make his home debut for Shields, having made his first appearance for the club in the away game against Kendal Town on Boxing Day.
That was the Mariners’ second successive draw, having been held by Trafford last time out at Mariners Park as the visitors came from two goals behind.
Shields will be looking to bounce back to winning ways against Scarborough, a team they scored eight goals against in two games earlier this season.
The most recent of those matches came in the FA Trophy in October, as Carl Finnigan scored twice in a 5-2 win for the Mariners.
Should Finnigan repeat that feat on Monday, he will reach the milestone of 50 goals for the club.
Another of Shields’ goalscorers that day, Andrew Stephenson, is expected to miss out because of a hamstring injury, with Robert Briggs also unavailable because of an ankle injury. Graeme Armstrong could return, but Luke Sullivan remains on honeymoon.
Since the last meeting between the clubs, Scarborough have signed striker James Walshaw from Farsley Celtic. Walshaw scored in an FA Trophy tie between Farsley and Shields in October.
Kick-off in Monday’s game is at 3pm, and full season tickets are valid for this fixture. However, those who have bought part-season tickets are advised that they become valid from the match against Mossley on Saturday, January 13.
Otherwise, admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.
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