Match Preview: South Shields vs Witton Albion, BetVictor Northern Premier Division
South Shields welcome Witton Albion to Mariners Park on Saturday as they bid to strengthen their six-point lead at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division.
The Mariners have won their last four league matches, including a 2-1 victory at second-placed Lancaster City last Saturday.
As the season reaches its business end, joint manager Lee Picton feels the club’s supporters could make a huge difference heading into the final 19 fixtures.
He has called on the fans to create another atmosphere to remember against Witton.
He said: “Myself and Graham (Fenton) will be sending the players onto the pitch with the aim of trying to entertain our fans with a combination of full commitment and positive attacking football.
“We know the kind of support the fans will give the players when we get that combination right and the atmosphere that is created at Mariners Park at times is absolutely incredible.
“The season is really starting to hot up now and we all have to stick together and get behind each other to the point where we become an unstoppable force towards our objective of winning promotion.
“The club’s promotion of free entry for all Under-16s will hopefully boost our numbers even further and provide us with an opportunity to reach potentially a new audience.
“Hopefully we can put on the kind of performance that will lead to those youngsters wanting to come back and become regular fans of the club.”
One of Shields’ four defeats in the league so far this season came at Witton in October.
Albion now lie 11th in the table and Picton knows the danger they possess.
He added: “Witton were the side which ended our eight-match winning run earlier this season and we can’t afford an ounce of complacency in this game.
“Their defensive record is one of the strongest in the league and they will undoubtedly make it tough for us to break them down.
“We have to be massively on the front foot both in possession and out of possession to try to force our own openings and also mistakes from them to ensure the right result.”
Shields hope to welcome back Dillon Morse after he missed recent games with a back injury, while Wouter Verstraaten is also available again after being cup-tied for the midweek Durham Challenge Cup tie against Stockton Town.
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and free for Under-16s. Discounts are available before midnight on Friday by clicking here.
Meanwhile, supporters who bought tickets for the Mickleover Sports game on January 11 can bring their tickets to the turnstiles before 1.30pm on Saturday to gain half-price entry to this match.
The usual Happy Hours will operate between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, and from 5pm to 6pm. The turnstiles open at 12.30pm.