By Daniel Prince
South Shields will look to continue their good run of form tomorrow (Saturday) when promotion-chasing Washington visit Peterlee in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
The Mariners have won three of their last four games in all competitions, and momentum is beginning to grow.
However, they face a major test of their credentials tomorrow, with Washington second in the table and looking likely to win promotion this season.
Shields manager Jon King feels his side’s defending will be key, with Washington particularly strong up-front.
He said: “We’re really pleased with the way things are going at the moment.
“It’s going to be a difficult game tomorrow, with Washington second in the table and one of the promotion favourites.
“They are going really well, have got a good side together and are going for promotion.
“They’re especially strong with their forwards, with Chris Winn, Mark Davison and James Fairley.
“They are scoring goals for fun, so it’s going to be a really tough game.”
When the two sides met in September, Washington ran out 3-1 winners.
However, King is confident his team is in better shape defensively now, despite conceding twice in the opening 15 minutes in last week’s 4-2 win at Chester-le-Street Town, when the Mariners “gifted” their opponents two goals.
King added: “If I was going to play Washington at any time, I’d probably choose now.
“We’ve made a couple of good signings recently to add to our defence, and we’ve certainly got a stronger backline now than we did when we played them in September.
“If we can defend well, we’ve got a good chance of getting something from the game.
“The last thing Washington need is gifts, considering the number of goals they score.
“If we can defend well as a team, we’re always going to score goals.
“We will have to defend really well and not give away sloppy goals, and if we do that, we’ve got a really good chance.
“All of the pressure is on Washington, because nobody will be expecting South Shields to turn them over, apart from us.”
Shields are set to be without Craig Roberts for tomorrow’s game due to a hamstring injury, but Chris Renshaw is expected to return for the 3pm kick-off at Eden Lane.
Volunteers are requested to attend Peterlee’s Eden Lane on Saturday to help get the ground ready for the new season.
The work is expected to take around two hours, and will begin from 10am.
Jobs that need doing include weeding and paintwork, and the club would appreciate anyone willing to help.