Preview: Birtley Town vs South Shields
South Shields return to league action on Wednesday with a trip to Birtley Town.
The Mariners will be looking for a 15th consecutive victory in all competitions, and will be taking on a Birtley team which sits fourth-bottom in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
However, defender Ben Riding – who has scored four goals in his last five games – insists Shields will not be taking their opponents lightly.
He said: “We take nothing for granted. The Second Division is the same as the First Division as in the teams near the bottom of the table can beat those at the top. It’s just all about who turns up on the day.
“In the last two or three games, we haven’t been at our best, but it’s probably the sign of a good team.
“We don’t always have to play at our best to win. We’ve got a lot of very good footballers, and we’ve also got the people who want to do the other side of it, as well as play good football.”
Shields’ latest win came on Friday as they defeated Bishop Auckland 2-1 in the FA Vase.
That followed a victory by the same scoreline at Chester-le-Street Town in the Durham Challenge Cup, but now their eyes return to the league, where they could extend their lead at the top to 11 points.
Manager Jon King said: “We’re now back to the league. We said to the lads before Friday’s game that it was a knockout competition and there was no pressure on them.
“We now go back to the league, and we need three points. There’s more pressure on us in this game.
“We want to make the gap as big as possible, so that if we do have off days, we’ll still have a decent lead.”
Shields will be without striker Lewis Teasdale, who remains suspended for the 7.30pm kick-off at Birtley Sports Complex. The post code of the ground is DH3 2TB. To find the ground by car, follow Leam Lane and the A194 to Birtley, and take the A195 exit from A1 (M). Then take Vigo Lane to Durham Road, and the ground can be found via a turn.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.