Match Preview: Stafford Rangers vs South Shields, Buildbase FA Trophy
South Shields are hoping to continue their run in the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday when they travel to Stafford Rangers.
A big travelling support is expected to follow the Mariners to Marston Road, with four coach-loads of fans set to make the journey, as well as plenty of others by car and rail.
The winners of the tie will claim a place in the third qualifying round of the competition.
Both teams go into the game in good form, with Shields having won four of their last five games, while Stafford have lost one of their last nine matches.
That form has seen them climb to 12th in the EVO-STIK Premier Division, while they defeated St Ives 6-0 in the last round of the competition.
South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: “We’ve got a long journey ahead of us, but we’ve done a lot of preparation and research.
“We’ve got a gameplan and know there are areas we can improve on from our recent performances.
“We’ve had a look at teams in that league a couple of times so far this season and have come through each test, so we’ll be looking to do the same on Saturday.”
South Shields midfielder Robert Briggs – who has scored four times in his last two games – said: “It’s a massive game for us.
“The FA Trophy is the equivalent of what the FA Vase was for us last season.
“We played the winners of the FA Trophy from last season (York City) in the FA Cup and beat them, so there’s no reason we can’t go all the way again.
“The lads believe it, the fans believe it and the management believe it.”
Last six games (in all competitions)
STAFFORD RANGERS: WDWWLD (Overall league position: 12th, 28 points from 18 games)
SOUTH SHIELDS: WWDWWD (Overall league position: 2nd, 33 points from 12 games)
South Shields are hoping to welcome back Julio Arca and Jon Shaw for the 3pm kick-off at Marston Road, but there are doubts over Matty Pattison and Anthony Callaghan.
Adam Hutchinson and Stephen Ramsey remain out injured.
INFORMATION FOR SUPPORTERS
Ahead of the game, a minute’s silence will be held to mark Remembrance Day.
Supporters will also be encouraged to participate in a minute’s applause in memory of South Shields supporter Jak Fada – who passed away earlier this week at the age of 10 – in the 10th minute.
Stafford Rangers have indicated that Mariners supporters will be welcome to use the bar facilities in the Lotus Suite of the ground’s social club, which will be reserved for away fans.
Catering is available at the ground at two outlets.
For supporters travelling by car, there is a large car park at the ground, but due to other events taking place in the social club on Saturday afternoon, early arrival is advisable. The entrance to the car park is on Astonfields Road, ST16 3UF. There is a charge of £1 for matchday parking. There is also ample off-site parking on the industrial estate opposite the ground.
From the north via the M1, take A50 to Uttoxeter, then the A518 towards Stafford. On reaching the traffic island, junction A513, turn right towards Stone and M6 for one mile and follow the football signs to Marston Road Stadium (ST16 3UF).
From the north via the M6, at junction 14 follow the signs for A513 (Uttoxeter and Stone). At the second island, continue along the A513 towards Uttoxeter. Follow the football signs to the ground.
ADMISSION AND TURNSTILES
Admission to the ground is £10 for adults, £7 concessions and £1 for Under-16s, to be paid at the turnstiles.
The match is not segregated, but South Shields supporters have been advised that they should use turnstiles F and G. Disabled supporters may use gate D.
Seating is only available in the main stand at an additional charge of £2.