Preview: South Shields vs Morpeth Town – FA Vase
A mouth-watering FA Vase tie will take place at Mariners Park on Saturday as the leaders of both Northern League divisions go head to head.
South Shields will be looking to make Morpeth Town their fourth Division One scalp in the competition so far, but know they face their toughest task yet against Morpeth.
Manager Jon King, though, is confident his side has what it takes to progress.
He said: “We’ve had two excellent training sessions this week to prepare for Morpeth, and we’re feeling ready for it now.
“This is our biggest game of the season so far, by a mile, against a very good side.
“They’ve got some really good players, but we’ve watched them and know a lot about them. They have watched us as well, so they’ll know about us.
“Hopefully we can perform really well, as we have done so far in the Vase, and get through to the next round.
“We’ve had some really tough draws in the Vase, and the lads have come out every time with good results.
“This will be a really tough one – the hardest we’ve had – but hopefully we can play as well as we can and win the tie.”
King joined Shields from Morpeth in 2010, where he had spent a memorable reign as manager.
Under King’s stewardship, the Highwaymen lifted the Northumberland Senior Cup in 2007 after pulling off a victory over Blyth Spartans at St James’s Park in the final.
It is a club King still holds a real affection for, but all of that will be forgotten about come 3pm on Saturday.
He added: “I know their chairman, Ken Beattie, really well and they fancy themselves to do very well in everything they’re going for this season.
“I was there for a long time. We had a really good side, and Ken was a fantastic chairman with me. I’m still good friends with him.
“They’ve got a really good side together, and I’m over the moon that they’re doing well.
“I’d like to see them win the Northern League, but of course I’d like to see them knocked out of the Vase on Saturday.
“I’ve got a lot of friends there and a lot of time for people there, but that goes out of the window. We want to get into the next round of the Vase on Saturday and hopefully we’ll do that.”
Shields will be without the injured Lewis Galpin (leg) and Lewis Teasdale (hand), while there are doubts over Stephen Ramsey and Robert Briggs. Julio Arca is hoping to be back from injury, while there should also be returns for Daryll Hall, Adam Sakr and Jonny Wightman.
Admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s. Club passes and season tickets are not valid for this fixture, as per FA rules.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.