Match Preview: South Shields vs Stafford Rangers, The Pitching In Northern Premier League

Match Preview: South Shields vs Stafford Rangers, The Pitching In Northern Premier League

With just six league games remaining, every point is crucial as South Shields host Stafford Rangers on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners are taking on the team with the best away record in the Pitching In Northern Premier League just three weeks after the sides played out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.

Second-placed Shields returned to winning ways with a 4-2 victory over Bamber Bridge last Saturday.

Stafford, meanwhile, lost their 14-match unbeaten record with a 2-1 reverse at home to Lancaster City last weekend, but bounced back on Tuesday with a 1-0 success at Witton Albion.

Manager’s view

Although Shields manager Kevin Phillips was pleased with his side’s improved showing against Bamber Bridge, he insists the Mariners can and must continue to get better, starting against Stafford at 1st Cloud Arena.

Phillips said: “It was very pleasing to win last week but that game also gave us plenty to work on, so it has been good to have another positive week in training.

“There are six games left and there are going to be so many twists and turns because there’s so much football to play.

“All we can affect is what we do, not what other teams do, and eventually it will take care of itself.

“If we can play like we did last Saturday and cut out the sloppiness and silly goals, we’ll come very close to getting out of this league but there’s a lot of work to do.”

Stafford are set to present another difficult test for the Mariners

Phillips added: “The players have already faced these teams and know what to expect pretty much every week but for me, the biggest emphasis is on what we do.

“If we do everything we know we can, do it well and everyone brings their A game, we can beat anyone on any given day.

“You have to respect the opposition though and Stafford will be fully motivated to get a positive result themselves.”

Team news

Phillips could have some difficult selection decisions to make, with Cedric Main a potential returnee after being ruled out of the Bamber Bridge game.

Shields remain without midfielder Callum Ross, who will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Sam Wilding could make his debut after joining the Mariners on loan from Sunderland on Thursday.

Matchday information

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £3 for under-16s. Supporters can pay at the turnstiles or purchase tickets until 12pm on matchday by clicking here.

With the BBC Football Focus cameras in town on Non-League Day, supporters are encouraged to enter the ground as early as possible to potentially be part of the coverage. The show will be live between 12pm and 1pm and the turnstiles will open at the earlier than usual time of 11.45am.

After the game, meanwhile, karaoke returns by popular demand in the marquee.

Those who would prefer alternative entertainment can watch the friendly between England and Switzerland in the clubhouse. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.

Happy Hour pricing will apply in all bars between 6pm and 7pm.

If you are unable to attend the game, follow live updates on the club’s Twitter channel, www.twitter.com/southshieldsfc.