By Daniel Prince
Ryton and Crawcrook Albion are the visitors to Peterlee tomorrow (Saturday) as South Shields look to make it three wins in a row.
Shields have beaten Esh Winning and Birtley Town in their last two games, but are expected to face a tougher test against a Ryton side sitting 12th in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
When the two sides met in the reverse fixture in December, David Molloy earned the Mariners a 1-1 draw with the last kick of the game.
And Shields manager Jon King is expecting a similarly difficult test at Eden Lane.
He said: “Ryton are a good side who have got some pace in the team. They’re going to be dangerous.
“They are young lads as well, so they will be very fit.
“To be fair, they should have beaten us at their ground earlier in the season. We got a late goal and nicked a point.
“It’s going to be a tough game, but hopefully we can get three points.”
Ryton last visited Peterlee on the final day of last season, and needed a win to jump off the bottom of the table to safety.
They won 4-2, and although it later turned out they would not have been relegated anyway, due to Whitehaven’s demotion, their improvement this season has been significant.
King added: “They’ve had a real improvement. Last season, they had to beat us on the last day of the season to stay up, and they did.
“They sit 12th now, though, and are eight points ahead of us.
“We need to win. I’ve said to the lads that we’ve got a couple of targets we want to achieve. We want to win all of the final four games and get the goal difference into a plus.”
Stephen Ramsey – who has scored three times in his last two matches – is expected to play his final game of the season, with the Shields striker suspended for next Friday’s last fixture of the campaign against Stokesley.
Paul Kane could also be suspended for the Stokesley game, so King is hopeful the pair will go out on a high tomorrow.
He said: “It will be Stephen’s last game of the season, and Paul Kane’s last game, I think.
“It would be nice for Stephen to go out with another couple of goals.
“He’s in a rich vein of form at the moment, so it’s a shame we’re losing him for the last game.”
Shields have suffered with injuries and suspensions in recent weeks, but King has received some good news on that front.
He added: “We’ve had a bit of a threadbare squad over the last month, but we should have everybody available.
“Baptiste Fixot thinks he should be OK, Paul Kane is back, Michael Turner should be back.
“I think for the first time in a month to six weeks, we should have everyone available, touch wood.”
Kick-off at Eden Lane is at 3pm.