Preview: South Shields vs Ryton & Crawcrook Albion
South Shields will look for an eighth consecutive victory on Saturday as Ryton & Crawcrook Albion visit Mariners Park on non-league day.
Three points could take the Mariners to the top of the Ebac Northern League Division Two table on a day when non-league takes centre stage in the absence of top-flight football.
Shields beat Ryhope Colliery Welfare 2-0 on Tuesday to continue their winning sequence, and assistant manager Gary Middleton is delighted with their recent form – in particular the way they have started games.
He said: “Starting well is vitally important, because it breeds confidence and gives us something to build on. We’re a hard nut to crack at the moment.
“We said a while ago that we needed to go on a long run of wins, and that’s seven in a row now and six clean sheets.
“That’s what we needed to do, and we’re doing that at the moment, so we need to keep that going.
“We’ve got a good dressing room and good camaraderie, and that gets you results as well.
“Every game is a test, though, because all of the teams are desperate to beat South Shields, and Ryton is the next challenge to come up.
“We’ll have to make sure we step up to the challenge against them.”
Ryton have had a decent start to the campaign, and sit eighth in the table, with 21 points from their first 14 games.
Shields will be able to call upon Julio Arca after he missed the win over Ryhope, while Leepaul Scroggins and Robert Briggs are among the other players hoping to be available.
David Foley, meanwhile, made his long-awaited return to action from a hamstring injury with a late substitute appearance in midweek, and is expected to be named on the bench again on Saturday.
The forward said: “I felt good to be back on the pitch, and there was no reaction from my time on there.
“I’m not quite ready to start a game yet. It would be nice to come on for a little bit longer – maybe 25 to 30 minutes – but I feel ready now, so whatever the management decide to do, I’m happy with.”
The game at Mariners Park kicks off at 3pm, while there will be a half-time dizzy penalties competition – with all contestants winning a prize, and the winner also receiving a copy of simulation game Football Manager 2016.
The full details of that will be announced on Friday.
Admission prices for the match are £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s.