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MATCH PREVIEW: Tadcaster Albion vs South Shields, pre-season friendly

South Shields continue their preparations for the new season with a friendly at Tadcaster Albion on Saturday.

The two clubs struck up a great friendship while competing together in the Evo-Stik North Division last season.

The Mariners picked up four points from the two fixtures with Tadcaster, and are expecting another keenly-contested encounter on Saturday.

Shields have been bolstered over recent days by the return from holiday of striker Gavin Cogdon, who made his first appearance of pre-season on Wednesday.

He marked it with a first half hat-trick in a 5-1 win at Boldon CA before being withdrawn at half-time.

The firepower the experienced frontman provides is vital for the Mariners, according to joint manager Graham Fenton.

He said: “It was good to Gavin him back from three weeks’ holiday on Wednesday and he scored a hat-trick in 30 minutes!

“It’s great to have Titch back.

“He’s a fantastic footballer and great to have in our squad.

“Titch always looks after himself fantastically well so we knew he wouldn’t come back and be sluggish in his first game.

“We thought 35 minutes was enough to get him off and running and we’re looking forward to seeing him again at Tadcaster.”

Shields and Tadcaster were divisional rivals last season, with Albion just missing out on the play-offs in the Evo-Stik North Division, a league the Mariners won.

Fenton is expecting a tough test – and a relevant one as Shields fine-tune their squad ahead of the season ahead in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

He added: “It will be a tough game for us.

“Tadcaster were very good towards the end of last season and did really well.

“I think they’ll be a really tough test for us tomorrow.

“We’ll probably trim our squad down a little bit.

“We’ve been dealing with 19 to 21 players in squads and we’ll knock that number down to get more minutes into the first-team squad.”

Shields will be without goalkeeper Liam Connell, who will miss the final two friendlies because of holiday commitments.

Kick-off at the i2i Stadium – which has a post code of LS24 9AY – is at 3pm.

Admission prices are £6 for adults, £4 for concessions and £1 for those aged between five and 17.