Stafford Rangers provide the opposition on Saturday as South Shields play the second of four consecutive away games in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners go into the match at Marston Road sitting top of the table with 10 matches to play, but their last outing saw them beaten 1-0 at Ashton United on Tuesday.

Stafford, meanwhile, are one of the league’s form sides and are unbeaten in their last 10 games in the competition, a run which has seen them climb to ninth as they eye a play-off place.

This is the first time the teams have met this season, with the return fixture set to take place at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday, March 26th.

This match was originally due to be held in November but was postponed after Shields became caught in heavy traffic, leaving them unable to get to Marston Road.

Manager’s view

Stafford’s most recent match saw them defeat Stalybridge Celtic 2-0 as they continued their ascent up the table, so Shields are well aware they are in for a difficult afternoon in Staffordshire.

Manager Kevin Phillips said: “It goes without saying that we were disappointed on Tuesday, when we had an off night.

“Too many of the players were below-par and they would admit that themselves.

“We’re a good side but we’re not good enough to be able to have four, five or six players below-par and get away with it.

“We’ve reflected on Tuesday’s game and looked at it, but our full focus has been on preparing for another tough match in similar conditions at Stafford.

“We need to be ready for it and we will be.”

Despite Tuesday’s defeat, Shields remain in a strong position, three points clear of second-placed Buxton and four ahead of Matlock Town, who have a game in hand.

That reality helped Phillips maintain perspective after the midweek disappointment as the Mariners look to return to winning ways against Stafford.

He added: “You can’t get too high and can’t get too low in football.

“You’ve got to stay level and we’re still there at the top with everything in our own hands.

“We’ve got another tough game on Saturday and that has been my priority since the final whistle at Ashton.”

Team news

Shields go into Saturday’s game without Cedric Main and Callum Ross, who are both nursing knee injuries, with Jon Shaw also set to miss out with a groin injury.

Matchday information

Kick-off at Marston Road – which has a post code of ST16 3UF – is at 3pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and students, and £3 for those aged 16 and under.

Tickets for the game can be purchased in advance by clicking here, but fans can also pay for entry at the turnstiles. All tickets bought for the original match remain valid.

The gates will open at 12pm, with food to be available from 12.15pm.

A minute’s applause will be held ahead of the match to signal both clubs’ support for the people of Ukraine, and instead of selling 50/50 tickets, Stafford will be collecting funds to be donated to The Disasters Emergency Relief Charity for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which provides food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families.

Those supporters who are unable to attend can listen to live commentary thanks to The Mariners Live team. Click here to tune in.

As usual, regular updates will also be posted on the club’s Twitter account.

Saturday’s Pitching In Northern Premier League match away to Stafford Rangers has been postponed.

The team coach became caught in heavy traffic less than midway through the journey and it became clear reaching the ground in time would prove impossible.

After consultation with the league and the home club, the unfortunate decision was made to postpone the game. A new date will be announced in due course.

South Shields travel to Stafford Rangers on Saturday as they look to build on last weekend’s victory over Gainsborough Trinity in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners are level on points with leaders Matlock Town following the 3-1 victory over Gainsborough, but Stafford are sure to provide a stern test of their credentials at Marston Road.

The seventh-placed outfit count table-topping Matlock Town and fifth-placed Whitby Town among their scalps so far this season, and will be looking to close the gap on the play-off places with a win on home soil.

Shields manager Graham Fenton says his team need to be ready for whatever will be thrown their way by Rangers.

He said: “I’ve spoken to a number of contacts about Stafford, all of which have given very similar feedback on them.

“They’re a very game and hard-working team who play with a certain style which isn’t easy to play against.

“They’re very dangerous from set-pieces and it’s going to be a game where we need to roll our sleeves up, relish the battle and play our football whenever we get the chance to.

“We have a long journey ahead of us but the lads go into it with confidence after the fantastic win against Gainsborough last week.”

Shields impressed Fenton with their ruthlessness against Gainsborough last Saturday, with Will McGowan, Conor Tee and new signing JJ Hooper finding the net to seal their win.

Cedric Main also provided a significant threat – particularly in the second half – and Fenton believes the front-line have what it takes to pose Stafford plenty of questions on Saturday.

He added: “We didn’t create a huge amount of chances last weekend but we were clinical.

“Seven of our eight efforts on goal were on target, which was fantastic to see, and we’ll need to be every bit as accurate against Stafford.

“We know with the likes of JJ Hooper, Cedric Main, Conor Tee and our other forward players that we have the capacity to create plenty of problems for opposition defences.

“On Saturday we have to be prepared to do the basics of football correctly and rely on moments of quality at the top end of the pitch to win us the game.”

One forward Shields will be without is Darius Osei, who serves the second game of the three-match suspension he received following his red card in the trip to Atherton Collieries earlier this month.

Jordan Hunter also remains out as he continues his recovery from a broken arm, with the right-back due to return to full training on December 8.

Blair Rossiter and Joao Gomes stepped up their comeback from knee injuries with an appearance for the Academy in midweek, but this first-team fixture is expected to come too early for them.

Kick-off at Marston Road – which has a post code of ST16 3UF – is at 3pm and admission is £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and students, and £3 for under-16s. Tickets can be bought in advance by clicking here.

Meanwhile, The Mariners Live commentary team will be on hand to describe the action from Marston Road. You will be able to listen in via this link.