Match Preview: South Shields vs Stafford Rangers, Evo-Stik Premier Division
Stafford Rangers are the visitors to Mariners Park on Saturday as South Shields aim to return to winning ways in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
The Mariners started their campaign with a 2-1 win over Witton Albion last Saturday before falling to a 4-1 loss at Farsley Celtic on Tuesday after being reduced to nine men.
Saturday sees them come up against a team which beat them 3-1 in last season’s FA Trophy, and they will have Gary Brown and Carl Finnigan available, despite their red cards in midweek. Their suspensions have not yet kicked in.
There will be a summer party after the game in the marquee, with a barbecue to take place outside and live music to be provided by JPAGE inside. For full details, click here.
Shields joint manager Lee Picton was delighted with the efforts shown by those left on the field on Tuesday after the two dismissals.
And he has challenges those who start Saturday’s game to show the same commitment.
Picton said: “In a lot of respects, we almost need to carry on from where we left off on Tuesday, because we felt that the personality, guts and determination we showed in the last 65 minutes of the game are exactly what we need on a consistent basis if we are to be ultimately successful this season.
“As far as we’re concerned, the matter has been dealt with internally and we now must look forward and learn lessons from what happened.
“As a management team, we pride ourselves on developing a culture and environment that puts discipline both on and off the pitch right up there as one of our core values.
“We were very proud to win the Fair Play award in our league last season, therefore we’re confident that Tuesday was an anomaly, and is in no way, shape or form a representation of how we intend to go about our business moving forwards.”
Picton knows the size of the task which awaits his players on Saturday.
He added: “This tie brings back some disappointing memories from last season for us.
“As a management team, we almost used the FA Trophy game against Stafford as a yardstick when we knew we were going to be taking a step up in levels this season, to identify the areas within our squad that we felt we needed to strengthen.
“Hopefully we’ve done that over the summer and we look forward to giving a much better account of ourselves this time around.”
Shields are also in action on Monday, when they travel to North Ferriby United.
Picton is targeting two positive results.
He said: “With two games in the space of three days coming up this bank holiday weekend, the squad will be fully tested and utilised again.
“We’re still carrying a number of injuries, so everybody who is available will undoubtedly have to play their part.
“If we can show the same level of resolve we did on Tuesday, coupled with the quality we know we have throughout the squad, we can aim to hopefully pick up four or six points this weekend.”
Saturday’s game kicks off at 3pm at Mariners Park, with Shields to be without the injured Anthony Callaghan and Barrie Smith, and Lee Mason and Jon Shaw both doubtful.
Admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.