Striker Lewis Alessandra is to bring his vast experience to South Shields after becoming the Mariners’ eighth summer signing.

Alessandra, who departed Carlisle United in the summer, has spent his entire 15-year career to date in the Football League, making over 400 appearances in the competition.

The 33-year-old is now bringing his talents to 1st Cloud Arena after spells with Oldham Athletic, Morecambe, Plymouth Argyle, Rochdale, York City, Hartlepool United, Notts County and Carlisle.

He said: “South Shields is definitely a club on the up and going places with big aspirations, so I’m delighted to be part of it.

“They made me feel very wanted, which was a big factor in my decision, and I can’t wait to get started.

“I knew a few of the lads here already and they said everything I wanted to hear in terms of the set-up and the way the club goes about things.

“I had a chat with the manager, who has great pedigree as a forward himself, and it will be great to get the chance to learn from him, even at my age.

“He explained what he was looking for in a forward, which suits the way I play, and everything I’ve heard and seen regarding the way the team likes to play has been positive.

“Now I have to prove my worth and try to get into the starting 11 and make the position my own.”

A versatile forward, Alessandra’s best work is usually through the middle, but he is also capable of playing in wide positions.

He is in no doubt as to the Mariners’ target for 2022-23.

Alessandra added: “We must aim to be right at the top of the league.

“It doesn’t always just happen the way you expect and that’s why being professional and setting high standards every day is so important.

“As a full-time squad we have to be as fit as possible and our target has to be promotion.”

South Shields manager Kevin Phillips said: “Lewis is another fantastic signing for the club.

“He is someone who has only ever played league football, so to attract a player of his calibre is a massive coup.

“We’re naturally delighted to have him as he brings added competition to the squad and excellent quality, alongside the players we already have in that position.

“He brings brilliant pedigree, experience and leadership qualities, and fits well with the players we have signed this summer and those who were already here.

“I’m very pleased with the balance of the squad and this will be our last addition for the foreseeable future.”

You can purchase a season ticket to watch Alessandra and his new team-mates by clicking here.

Alessandra is not expected to be available to make his debut in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Dunston.

Dunston provide the opposition as South Shields bring the curtain down on their preparations for the 2022-23 season at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners are on a four-game winning streak in pre-season and recorded five victories from their seven matches in July.

Just one fixture separates them from the start of the 2022-23 Pitching In Northern Premier League campaign and it is sure to be a keenly-contested one against Chris Swailes’ Dunston.

The NPL East side finished just one place outside the play-off positions in 2021-22 and will be looking to challenge for promotion this time out.

The arrival of Shields legend Jon Shaw, joining fellow former Mariners Craig Baxter, Phil Turnbull and Ursene Mouanda in the squad, is sure to bolster their chances.

Dunston’s most recent outing saw them defeat Newcastle Blue Star 3-0 last Saturday, with a 2-1 victory over Gateshead also catching the eye in early-July.

Manager’s views

Match minutes have been spread between the squad in pre-season, with players given the opportunity to build their sharpness ahead of the season opener against Stalybridge Celtic a week on Saturday.

However, with just one preparation game remaining, Shields manager Kevin Phillips is now honing in on the XI which will take to the field on the league’s opening day.

He said: “Everyone has had 90 minutes under their belt at least once and now I need to start focusing around the team and squad that will be lining up against Stalybridge.

“Every manager does that the week before the season starts and that’s just the way it is.

“The players were all excellent last weekend and I’ve got a massive selection headache.

“Of course, I’d rather have that than not have it so that’s a credit to the players.

“I’ll be picking a team against Dunston that I think can win the match because I want to win it and go into the season on the back of another victory and full of confidence.”

Team news

Dillon Morse, Callum Ross, Cedric Main and JJ Hooper will all miss out on the final game of pre-season through injury.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12.30pm.

Admission prices for those who would like to stand are £6 for adults, £5 for concessions, £3 for those aged 12 to 16 and £2 for Under-12s. A £2 upgrade is available for those wishing to sit. You can pay at the turnstiles by cash or card, or secure a ticket in advance by clicking here.

The Barbour Lounge and balcony will be open to all supporters on a first-come, first-served basis.

The club’s 2022-23 home shirt, as well as lots of other items, can be bought from the club shop within the main stand, which will open at 12.30pm.

A match programme, which covers all four of the club’s home pre-season friendlies, will be available to purchase at a price of £2.

Supporters who have yet to collect their season ticket can do so from the former merchandise hut, which is located next to the players’ tunnel, before the game.

South Shields face their penultimate test of pre-season on Saturday when Pontefract Collieries visit 1st Cloud Arena (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners turned on the style in securing their fourth victory of the summer away to Hebburn Town on Tuesday, and now face the Hornets’ divisional rivals.

Shields had originally been due to come up against Shildon on this date, but the Railwaymen were forced to withdraw from the fixture and were quickly replaced by the Colls.

The Pitching In Northern Premier League East side, founded in 1958, finished 12th last season and are managed by Craig Rouse.

Manager’s views

Shields manager Kevin Phillips praised his side after Tuesday’s 4-0 win at Hebburn, which was their third victory in succession.

He is delighted with the competition for places which has emerged during pre-season, and feels the players can step it up further this weekend.

He said: “There’s huge competition in the squad now with the experience and quality we have.

“Everyone is competing for a place and even the young players are coming in and doing very well.

“The biggest thing for me is keeping everyone fit, so we have to get the balance of training and match minutes right for players.

“We’ve got a game behind closed doors against Sunderland on Friday as well as Saturday’s match, so there will be an opportunity for players to get 90 minutes under their belts.

“Everyone is giving me a welcome selection headache at the moment because we’re scoring plenty of goals and keeping clean sheets, which is all I can ask for.”

Team news

Shields remain without the injured JJ Hooper, Dillon Morse, Cedric Main and Callum Ross, with Will Jenkins also expected to miss out after picking up a knock in Tuesday’s game.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12.30pm.

Admission prices for those who would like to stand are £6 for adults, £5 for concessions, £3 for those aged 12 to 16 and £2 for Under-12s. A £2 upgrade is available for those wishing to seat. You can pay at the turnstiles by cash or card, or secure a ticket in advance by clicking here.

The Barbour Lounge and balcony will be open to all supporters on a first-come, first-served basis.

The club’s 2022-23 home shirt can be bought from the club shop within the main stand, which will open at 12.30pm. After a hugely successful launch event on Friday, there is currently no availability in adult XL or adult 2XL, with stock also now very low in the children’s XS size.

A match programme, which covers all four of the club’s home pre-season friendlies, will be available to purchase at a price of £2.

Supporters who have yet to collect their season ticket can do so from the former merchandise hut, which is located next to the players’ tunnel, before the game.