Match Preview: South Shields vs West Auckland Town
South Shields play just their second league fixture of 2017 on Saturday when they host West Auckland Town.
The game at Mariners Park is a 3pm kick-off, and will see Shields aim to win for the 16th consecutive time in all competitions.
They go into the match sitting second in Northern League Division One, 11 points behind leaders North Shields, but with three games in hand.
The Mariners are taking on a West Auckland side now looking comfortable in 17th, having recovered from a difficult start to the campaign.
Among their ranks are former Shields players Lewis Galpin, Ibby Hassan, Andrew Brown and Adam Burnicle, so they are sure to be full of motivation.
They also have plenty of ability, as they proved recently with a fine 3-2 win at Consett, bringing to an end the Steelmen’s 14-match unbeaten run.
(Last six games – all competitions)
South Shields – WWWWWW
West Auckland Town – WLWLLL
West Auckland (vs West Allotment Celtic, Northern League Division One, January 28): Graham, Marron, Galpin, Hickman, Hassan, Close (R Gardner 88), Hedley, Brown, Burnicle, Boagey (Elgie 83), Richardson (Ruddy 54).
South Shields (vs Hartlepool United, Durham Challenge Cup, January 31): Connell, Baxter, Callaghan, Briggs, Morse, Lough (Storey 56), Nicholson, Smith, Shaw (c) (Ramsey 52), Richardson, Phillips (Holden 66).
South Shields – Gavin Cogdon is expected to again miss out with a slight hamstring injury, but there could be a return to availability for the likes of David Foley, Carl Finnigan and Andrew Stephenson. Iulian Petrache remains suspended, though, while captain Leepaul Scroggins is still in the early stages of his recovery from a broken leg.
A WORD FROM THE MARINERS
Graham Fenton, South Shields joint manager: “Whenever you play West Auckland, they’re competitive. We go into the game hugely confident with the run we’re on, though, and we’re playing at home. It’s going to be very difficult at the weekend to select a starting 11. Possibly the 16 will be a little bit easier, because we’ve got a couple of injuries here and there. Selecting teams at the moment is difficult, but we’d much rather have it that way.”
Robert Briggs, South Shields midfielder and ex-West Auckland Town player: “We’re expecting another tough test against West Auckland. For everyone who comes to Mariners Park, it’s a big game for them with the crowds we get. West Auckland are always a good team. I was there a few years ago and they’ll bring a good team up. They’ll not lie down for us, so it’s another tough test, but we’ve got to come through it again.”
We really hope you can make it to Mariners Park to support the lads as they aim to maintain their fine form.
Kick-off is at 3pm, with admission prices costing £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s. Remember, this is a non-ticketed game, so all admission is paid at the turnstiles. This is a league fixture, so season tickets, corporate and junior season passes are valid.
If you are unable to make it to the game, follow our live updates on Twitter by clicking here.