The club can confirm that Gary Middleton has left his role as first-team coach.

Gary, who joined the Mariners’ coaching staff in the summer of 2015, contributed hugely to the club over the last 15 months.

However, after recently taking up a new role as Head of Mens’ Football at Gateshead College, he felt he could no longer commit as fully as he would have liked at Mariners Park.

South Shields joint manager Lee Picton said: “Gary has taken up a new role outside of South Shields at Gateshead College over recent weeks.

“He just felt that he wasn’t able to fully commit to what he was doing at South Shields because of that.

“We thoroughly appreciate all of his efforts over the past 15 months and wish him well in his new role, and whatever he chooses to do next.

“I was aware this may happen a couple of weeks ago, because Gary said he had been thinking about it and told us so that we could put the wheels in motion if he was to step down.”

A further announcement regarding the coaching staff will be made in due course.

Everyone at South Shields FC would like to thank Gary for his tremendous efforts, and wish him all the very best for the future.

South Shields will aim to pick up a third win in less than a week when they travel to Penrith (2pm kick-off) on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Mariners go into the game in buoyant mood following their 6-0 success at Chester-le-Street Town on Saturday.

However, they are expecting a difficult test against Penrith, who claimed their first league win of the season on Saturday as they saw off West Allotment Celtic 2-1.

One of their main threats is set to be provided by Martyn Coleman, who scored 11 goals in 19 appearances for Shields during a three-month spell last season.

The last meeting between the two sides was in September 2014 in the League Cup.

The Mariners looked set to pull off an upset when they went 2-0 up in the first half, with goals from Lee Maitland and Adam Sharp seeing them take control of the game.

Penrith pulled a goal back early in the second half and then, despite a series of saves from Shields goalkeeper Steven Hubery, forced extra-time with a goal two minutes into stoppage time.

Barrie Smith was also sent off, and the one-man advantage proved crucial for the hosts in the extra 30 minutes as they struck twice more to secure a 4-2 victory. Of the Shields squad that day, only Smith and Stephen Ramsey remain with the club.

Penrith finished 14th in Northern League Division One last season, and Shields first-team coach Gary Middleton is expecting a difficult test on Monday at the Frenchfield Stadium, which has a post code of CA11 8UA.

Middleton said: “Penrith is a tough place to go, so it will be a tricky game.

“No doubt we’ll need to be at our best, but if we maintain the form we’re showing at the moment, hopefully we can bring back the three points.

“We played some great stuff on Saturday, and everyone contributed to a great performance.

“I thought Jon Shaw was different class. His movement was good and he was quality all over the pitch. It was a top, top performance from him.

“It’s virtually a totally new crop of players, and we’re still looking to add to the squad, so it’s going to take time.

“Lads are getting to know each other as the weeks go on, so it’s only going to get better, but everything is going in the right direction.”

Kick-off is at 2pm, and the club would very much appreciate support at the game. For those unable to make it, updates can be followed on the club’s Twitter page here.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.

Assistant manager Gary Middleton paid tribute to a host of people ahead of South Shields’ final game of the season at Northallerton Town on Wednesday.

Speaking during the club’s presentation night, Middleton thanked the players, staff, volunteers and fans at the club for their contribution during what has been a very memorable campaign.

In the video above, Middleton reflects on the season and the contribution of everyone at Mariners Park.

VIDEO: Daniel Prince. STILL IMAGE: Peter Talbot.