Preview: Consett vs South Shields – FA Vase
Jon King says South Shields are ready to face their “biggest game of the season” when they travel to Consett in the FA Vase on Saturday.
The Mariners have won 17 games in a row, but could face their toughest test yet on the trip to Belle View.
Consett are eighth in Ebac Northern League Division One, and have ambitions of finishing higher than that in the final standings.
King said: “Consett are a top side and we’ve watched them twice. It will be really tough and we’ll go there as underdogs.
“They’re one of the top six sides in Division One, and have got some very good players.
“We’ll go there full of confidence, though, and have had a good week to prepare for it.
“We’ve had to get everyone ready for what will be the biggest game of the season so far by a mile.”
Shields are expected to be backed by a big travelling support, with about 150 supporters booked on coaches, and many more expected to travel of their own accord.
A Northern League Division Two record crowd of 1,412 saw the Mariners beat Tow Law Town 9-1 at Mariners Park on Saturday, and King is hopeful many of them will make the journey to Consett.
He added: “Hopefully all of those fans will come across to support us, because we’ll need that.
“It’s going to be difficult, but we’ve had a free week, so have been able to work on things which we needed to work on.
“Hopefully we have got everyone in the right frame of mind to go there and put a top performance in.”
Shields midfielder Robert Briggs is also expecting a tough afternoon, but feels Consett’s 3G pitch should suit the Mariners.
He said: “It’s going to be a really difficult game. Every time you play against Consett, they’re a hard-working, good side.
“They play on 3G, which I think will suit us when we get the ball down and play. We’ll get the ball down and it should be a good game.”
Shields will still be without the suspended Lewis Teasdale for the 3pm kick-off at Belle View (DH8 7BF), but hope to have an otherwise full-strength squad to choose from.