By Daniel Prince
Jon King says forward Paul Kane is relishing the prospect of facing his former club when South Shields travel to Washington tomorrow (Saturday).
The Ebac Northern League Division Two match is sure to be a huge test of Shields’ credentials, with Washington expected to be among the promotion challengers this season.
Kane will be back in contention for the Mariners, having missed the midweek League Cup loss at Penrith due to holiday commitments.
He joined Shields from Washington in late-August, having first signed for them from the Mariners a year ago.
The forward has scored six times in six appearances since rejoining Shields, and his manager says he can’t wait to take on his old team-mates at the Nissan Sports Ground.
King said: “Paul Kane will be back against his old club, which is a game he is looking forward to.
“He has been on holiday, but returns on Friday, and will be raring to go.
“It’s a big game for him, and he is one of a number of players who should be back for the game.”
Shields go into the game on the back of Wednesday’s frustrating defeat after extra-time at Penrith in the League Cup.
King is expecting a huge test against Washington, who have played just nine times in the league so far this season, and sit 13th.
Shields are third, having played three games more, and King knows his team will have to be on top form to come away with maximum points.
He added: “We move onto Washington now, and that is going to be another massive test.
“They are scoring goals for fun and have some great forwards. They have got First Division centre-forwards.
“They maybe haven’t hit the heights of what they expect yet, but they’ve got some big players and will be there or thereabouts this season.
“I always thought they were one of the favourites for promotion, along with Team Northumbria, Ryhope and Seaham Red Star.
“We’re away from home, and we’re looking for some character, which we have in abundance.”
King, though, feels his side will also be dangerous tomorrow, and is hopeful the Shields defence may prove to be the difference.
He continued: “Washington have got very good attacking players, but they are conceding lots of goals as well.
“If we can defend well – which will be a tall order against their forward players – we can win the game.
“Both teams are very good at attacking, but I believe our defence is better than theirs. Hopefully we can capitalise on that, and keep the front two quiet.
“If we can go to Washington and stay in the top three, I will be over the moon.
“We need to get a result, and we know we can beat anyone on our day. We will need to be on our A game, though.”
Shields will be without Graham Stephenson for the 3pm kick-off as he is on holiday, while there is a doubt as to Lee Maitland’s availability.
Kane, Chris Feasey, Andy Renton, David Halliday and Kyle Houshby should all boost the Mariners’ ranks, though, having missed the loss at Penrith.
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