Callum Ross has committed his long-term future to South Shields by signing a new contract.

The midfielder, who joined in January 2020 after a spell with USA-based Oklahoma City Energy, impressed in the early stages of the 2020-21 season after establishing himself in the side.

He and his team-mates were ultimately left frustrated when a second successive campaign was lost to the pandemic, but he is eager to get going again when things kick-off in 2021-22.

Ross, who also had successful stints at Charlotte Independence and Wingate University before returning to England and his native North East, said: “I’m really pleased to have signed a new deal with the club.

“The club had an option to extend my previous contract but offered me a longer-term one, and I’m proud the management wanted to keep me.

“It gives me that bit of extra security and now I’m just excited to get going again.

“I’m hugely grateful to the club and management for everything they’ve done for me so far and really want to repay their faith in the coming seasons.”

Prior to his move to America, Ross developed under the tutelage of Graham Fenton and Lee Picton in Monkseaton High School’s football academy.

The pair were instrumental in the 26-year-old’s initial move to 1st Cloud Arena, although Picton has since stepped away from first-team duties to take up a new role as the club’s chief executive.

Fenton, assisted by Jon Shaw and Brian Smith, will lead the Mariners into the new campaign.

Ross is confident he can find his best form again under the trio.

He added: “The vision and ambition of this club is exciting for any player and we all believe it is only heading in one direction.

“I’ve known Graham for a long time and I’ve got to know a lot of other people at the club really well now as well.

“Jon Shaw is one of those who I’ve built a good relationship with and he has been really open and honest with me, which I value massively. It’s the same with Graham and Brian.

“I trust the people that are here and hopefully we can kick on next season, which should be an exciting one with the work that is going on at the ground and hopefully we’ll have the fans back in big numbers.

“It was a no-brainer for me to stay because I’m really happy here and want to repay the faith that has been shown in me.”

South Shields manager Graham Fenton said: “We are delighted that Callum has committed his future to the club by signing a new long-term contract.

“He showed real class and quality in the games we were able to play last season as he fully settled into the squad.

“We are looking forward to seeing him back in a South Shields shirt as soon as possible.”

Another December day is upon us and with it, the seventh installment of our SSFC Advent Calendar feature.

Throughout the first 24 days of the month we will attempt to spread a bit of festive cheer, and today’s feature is started by Callum Ross, whose message for fans can be viewed via the tweet below.

Between now and Christmas Eve, you will be able to enter a range of competitions to win prizes courtesy of the club and several of its sponsors.

The latest item up for grabs is a place on the SSFC Foundation Christmas holiday course on December 21 and 22.

To enter this competition, supporters must wait until four questions have been asked, with the fourth to be published on Tuesday. Supporters will have until 9am the following day to submit all of their four answers together via email to info@southshieldsfc.co.uk.

The first question, asked by Dillon Morse, was: Which club did South Shields defeat 3-0 on the opening day of this season?

The second question, asked by Phil Turnbull, was: Which club does Phil Turnbull’s twin brother Stephen currently manage?

Today’s question is: Which club did Shields beat 4-0 in the FA Vase final in 2017?

Remember, don’t submit your answers until the fourth question has been published on Tuesday.

We also have another competition running in partnership with our sponsors Fugati.

A 50% discount voucher is up for grabs and to enter the competition, you must do one of the following by 1pm on Tuesday…

TO ENTER VIA TWITTER:

1. Like and retweet the below tweet

2. Make sure you are following the following accounts on Twitter: @SouthShieldsFC, @SSFCFoundation, @SSFCAcademy, @Fugati1

TO ENTER VIA FACEBOOK:

1. Like, share and tag three of your friends on the competition posted on the South Shields FC Facebook page on Sunday morning.

2. Make sure you like the following pages on Facebook: South Shields FC, SSFC Foundation, Fugati

We would like to thank Fugati for their continued support. You can visit their website by clicking here.

We are also currently highlighting our second charity of the month, Hospitality and Hope.

This is a fantastic South Shields-based charity which supports vulnerable and homeless people in our community through areas including a food bank and a supported housing project.

To find out more about Hospitality and Hope, click here. To donate financially, click here.

The charity is also this month publicising a reverse advent calendar, which highlights some of the items they are most in need of this festive season. You can read the items they require in the graphic below.

Over the month, donations will also be encouraged towards the club’s charitable Foundation, which works with hundreds of children each week and does such fantastic work within our community.

To support the Foundation with a donation, please click here.

Thank you for your continued support and keep an eye out for Day Eight tomorrow!

South Shields swept into the third qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup with a convincing 4-0 victory at Ashton United on Saturday.

Four days after they had to come from two goals behind to salvage a draw in a league fixture against the same opponents, Shields were on the front foot throughout at Hurst Cross.

Jason Gilchrist and Darius Osei fired them into a 2-0 lead at half-time, and second half goals from Robert Briggs and Callum Ross sealed the Mariners’ place in Monday’s draw for the next round.

Lee Picton and Graham Fenton made two changes to the team which started last Tuesday’s 3-3 draw at Ashton, with Craig Baxter and Gilchrist introduced to the starting line-up in place of Will Jenkins and Jordan Hunter, who was injured.

After a sluggish first half display had left Shields playing catch-up in the league encounter between the sides, there were no such issues this time.

They had a sight of goal as early as the third minute as captain Jon Shaw turned an Alex Kempster free-kick wide, while further opportunities came the way of Briggs and Gilchrist as they began to knock on the Ashton door.

Goalkeeper Greg Hartley pushed away Briggs’ 20 yard effort and Gilchrist’s strike whistled into the side netting, though, as the away side were made to wait for their breakthrough.

It arrived on 24 minutes as Dillon Morse picked out Gilchrist with a terrific pass over the top and the frontman advanced towards goal before rounding Hartley and rolling the ball home for his third goal against Ashton in four days.

Less than eight minutes later, the Mariners went two goals to the good.

This time it was Ross at the heart of the build-up. He superbly beat his man in the centre of the pitch, drove forward with the ball and played it to Osei, who rifled a shot which had too much on it for Hartley and skipped into the roof of the net.

The closest Ashton came to pulling a goal back in the first half was an effort from the edge of the box by Ben Hardcastle which took a deflection and zipped along the wet surface before being well held by Myles Boney.

Shields had opportunities to go three ahead in the early stages of the second half, but Briggs and Kempster were both off target with their shots and Gilchrist was denied by Hartley.

The hosts almost halved the deficit just before the hour as Sam Sheridan tried to catch Boney out from near the halfway line, but his strike touched the top of the crossbar before bouncing behind.

The Mariners seized control after that and after a Briggs cross from the left was narrowly headed his own bar by a defender, the Shields vice-captain went from provider to goalscorer.

The lively Kempster provided him with the opportunity after a strong run and cross from the left, and Briggs squeezed the ball home at the back post to all but seal his side’s passage into the next round.

Ashton’s John Pritchard was sent off 10 minutes from the end after kicking out at Shields substitute Jenkins, and six minutes later the scoring was completed.

Briggs was back in the role of provider this time as his deep corner from the left was powered home by the head of Ross at the back post as he registered his first goal for the Mariners.

It completed a fine afternoon’s work for Picton and Fenton’s side, who can now look forward to Monday’s draw for the third qualifying round.

They are back in action on Tuesday when they take on Radcliffe in the league at 1st Cloud Arena.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Baxter, Adams (McCamley 75), Shaw (c), Morse, Ross, Verstraaten, Briggs, Gilchrist (Hodgson 82), Osei (Jenkins 72), Kempster. Subs not used: Coombe, Agnew.

Goals: Gilchrist (24), Osei (32), Briggs (69), Ross (86).

Attendance: 310.

Image: Kev Wilson.