Mickleover match in doubt

Mickleover match in doubt

South Shields’ trip to Mickleover on Saturday is in doubt due to an escalating number of positive COVID-19 cases and player unavailability in the Mariners’ camp. 

A number of the travelling party are unavailable because of COVID-related reasons, and further injuries have left Shields struggling to meet the minimum number of players required to fulfil the fixture.

A decision from the Pitching In Northern Premier League is awaited as to whether the game will go ahead.

Manager Graham Fenton has expressed his frustration at the situation – but insists “health must come first”.

He said: “If the game does get postponed it will be really disappointing, as we know how key momentum is in any league campaign.

“We feel that through the training we’ve done over the last month and the last couple of games, we’ve started to build a bit of momentum and we’re looking to capitalise on that.

“When you’re in good form against decent sides, you can’t wait for the next game to come about, and that’s the frame of mind everyone is in at the moment.

“Health must come first, though, and we are awaiting information as to whether we’ll be able to fulfil the fixture.

“We know that cases of COVID have rocketed in South Tyneside over the last week or so and we’re just hoping that everyone in the area looks after themselves, their friends and their families as best they can.”

As well as the COVID disruption, Shields are also facing a mounting injury list.

Callum Ross (ankle), Cedric Main (hip), JJ Hooper (calf), Joao Gomes (knee) and Jordan Hunter (arm) have all been ruled out of the Mickleover game, with Conor Tee (ankle) and Alex Kempster (Achilles) severe doubts and due to be assessed by club physio Andrew Morris on Friday morning.

Should the game go ahead, the Mariners will be coming up against a Mickleover side sitting 19th in the Northern Premier League, having beaten Hyde United 4-1 in their last outing.

It is a fixture Fenton has been particularly looking forward to.

He added: “We have been really looking forward to visiting Mickleover and their new facilities, particularly following a couple of positive results against two of the league’s in-form teams.

“Mickleover had a very positive result last week against Hyde United, and we know it’s going to be another tough encounter if it goes ahead.”

We expect to discover whether a postponement will be necessary on Friday, with any information to be published on the club’s website and social media channels as soon as it is available.