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

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

South Shields travel to Stafford Rangers on Saturday as they look to build on last weekend’s victory over Gainsborough Trinity in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners are level on points with leaders Matlock Town following the 3-1 victory over Gainsborough, but Stafford are sure to provide a stern test of their credentials at Marston Road.

The seventh-placed outfit count table-topping Matlock Town and fifth-placed Whitby Town among their scalps so far this season, and will be looking to close the gap on the play-off places with a win on home soil.

Shields manager Graham Fenton says his team need to be ready for whatever will be thrown their way by Rangers.

He said: “I’ve spoken to a number of contacts about Stafford, all of which have given very similar feedback on them.

“They’re a very game and hard-working team who play with a certain style which isn’t easy to play against.

“They’re very dangerous from set-pieces and it’s going to be a game where we need to roll our sleeves up, relish the battle and play our football whenever we get the chance to.

“We have a long journey ahead of us but the lads go into it with confidence after the fantastic win against Gainsborough last week.”

Shields impressed Fenton with their ruthlessness against Gainsborough last Saturday, with Will McGowan, Conor Tee and new signing JJ Hooper finding the net to seal their win.

Cedric Main also provided a significant threat – particularly in the second half – and Fenton believes the front-line have what it takes to pose Stafford plenty of questions on Saturday.

He added: “We didn’t create a huge amount of chances last weekend but we were clinical.

“Seven of our eight efforts on goal were on target, which was fantastic to see, and we’ll need to be every bit as accurate against Stafford.

“We know with the likes of JJ Hooper, Cedric Main, Conor Tee and our other forward players that we have the capacity to create plenty of problems for opposition defences.

“On Saturday we have to be prepared to do the basics of football correctly and rely on moments of quality at the top end of the pitch to win us the game.”

One forward Shields will be without is Darius Osei, who serves the second game of the three-match suspension he received following his red card in the trip to Atherton Collieries earlier this month.

Jordan Hunter also remains out as he continues his recovery from a broken arm, with the right-back due to return to full training on December 8.

Blair Rossiter and Joao Gomes stepped up their comeback from knee injuries with an appearance for the Academy in midweek, but this first-team fixture is expected to come too early for them.

Kick-off at Marston Road – which has a post code of ST16 3UF – is at 3pm and admission is £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and students, and £3 for under-16s. Tickets can be bought in advance by clicking here.

Meanwhile, The Mariners Live commentary team will be on hand to describe the action from Marston Road. You will be able to listen in via this link.