Preview: South Shields vs Basford United, NPL Premier Division
South Shields and Basford United head into Saturday’s fixture at Mariners Park both eyeing top spot in the BetVictor NPL Premier Division.
A two-goal win for the Mariners would see them climb to the summit, while a point would be enough for Basford.
The rest of the top six are all on Emirates FA Cup duty on Saturday, giving Shields and Basford an opportunity to steal a march.
Mariners captain Jon Shaw feels the club’s supporters could make all the difference in Saturday’s 3pm kick-off.
He said: “I mentioned after the game last Saturday that the support we’ve been given already this season has been outstanding and words can’t always describe the difference it makes or the effect it has on us and our opponents.
“However, as much as Lee (Picton) and Graham (Fenton) set high standards for us I’m going to for our fans.
“We’re appealing for them to be there for us and get behind the team from the first second of the match and we will do everything we can to deliver for them.”
Shields have won their last two games since being knocked out of the FA Cup by Colne.
Last Saturday’s 2-1 victory at previously unbeaten Matlock Town was particularly pleasing for Shaw, who scored in the win.
He added: “The lads showed great character at Matlock to bounce back from the previous two performances.
“After drawing at Mariners Park and losing the replay at Colne in the FA Cup, I’m sure some people started to worry but Colne deserve a lot of credit for their approach and the way they executed their gameplan.
“From our point of view, it was obviously disappointing not to break them down over the two games, which is something we haven’t had too much experience of over the last few years, but Colne deserved to go through and we had to react.
“The training building up to Matlock was about sticking together while demanding more from each other and I think those traits showed in our approach to the match.
“We knew it was going to be tough with them being unbeaten, the travel and the quality of the pitch, but the focus from the lads was fantastic and we deserved the win.”
Shields are expected to be without Jason Gilchrist (hamstring), Nathan Lowe (calf) and Luke Daly (knee) on Saturday.
Jordan Hunter will be available after his loan from Sunderland was extended by 28 days.
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.
Tickets can be bought at reduced prices up to midnight on Friday by clicking here. Buying tickets online will also automatically enter you into a competition to win a season ticket for the remainder of the campaign.
The turnstiles at Mariners Park will open at 12.30pm and the usual Happy Hours will take place between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, and 5pm and 6pm.
A barbecue is to take place outside of the marquee immediately after the match, while the Newcastle United versus Brighton and Hove Albion game will be shown on the TVs from 5.30pm.