Pre-Season Match Preview: South Shields vs Barrow
South Shields welcome EFL League Two outfit Barrow to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday as Kevin Phillips’ side play their first home pre-season friendly (2pm kick-off).
The Mariners have had two run-outs so far, winning 1-0 at Berwick Rangers last Saturday before a 5-3 defeat at Blyth Spartans on Tuesday.
In both of those games, Phillips changed his entire XI at half-time, but increased minutes are expected for those who start the match on Saturday.
It will be Shields’ first meeting with EFL opposition since July 2019, when Sunderland were welcomed to South Tyneside.
Barrow were promoted to the Football League after a 48-year absence in 2020, and the Bluebirds are looking to kick on in 2022-23 after narrowly avoiding relegation in both of their campaigns in League Two.
They are now under the stewardship of manager Pete Wild, who departed FC Halifax Town in the summer to take the reins at Holker Street.
Wild was in charge of the Halifax team beaten 2-0 by Shields in October 2020 as the Mariners reached the first round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time since reforming in 1974.
Shields manager Phillips was enthused by much of what he witnessed in Tuesday’s trip to Blyth, which saw Sam Hodgson net twice and Michael Woods also find the mark in Mariners colours for the first time.
He wants his side to push on in terms of fitness and performance against Barrow.
Phillips said: “We’re really looking forward to it and I need to pick a team I feel can get a result.
“It’s another fitness exercise but now we’ve got to start looking at developing a winning mentality.
“Saturday will be another huge test for us but we benefitted from Tuesday’s game and will be raring to go.
“We won’t come up against anyone like Barrow in our league next season and we want the result to go our way, but it’s mostly about the performance and fitness levels.”
Dylan Mottley-Henry (Achilles) and Cedric Main (knee) were kept out of the Blyth game as precautions, but both are hoping to be available on Saturday.
Callum Ross continues to be eased back from his knee injury and the match will come too soon for Dillon Morse (groin) and JJ Hooper (hamstring), who are recovering well from their respective injuries.
Information for supporters
Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 2pm and the turnstiles will open at 12pm.
Admission prices for those who would like to stand are £8 for adults, £6 for concessions, £4 for those aged 12 to 16 and £3 for Under-12s. You can pay at the turnstiles by cash or card, or secure a ticket in advance by clicking here.
The new main stand will be fully opened for the first time, with the new bar, club shop and executive boxes all set to be accessible.
A match programme, which covers all four of the club’s home pre-season friendlies, will be available to purchase at a price of £2.
Supporters who have yet to collect their season ticket can do so from the former merchandise hut, which is located next to the players’ tunnel, before the game.