By Daniel Prince
Willington are set to provide the opposition tomorrow (Saturday) as South Shields make their first away trip of the Ebac Northern League Division Two season.
The Mariners have started the campaign with three wins and a loss at home, and have been bolstered ahead of the Willington game by the arrival of midfielder Robert Briggs from Spennymoor Town.
It is hoped that Briggs will be available to make his second debut for the club in the 3pm kick-off at Hall Lane, but David Foley is set to miss out with a hamstring injury.
Shields go into the match on the back of a 2-1 victory over Heaton Stannington on Tuesday, and assistant manager Gary Middleton is expecting a different kind of test.
He said: “It will be a new encounter for us this season, going away.
“Teams that are playing at home might want to come out a bit more, whereas we’ve found at our place that teams are trying to be really hard to beat, and we’ve got to try and break them down.
“We’re still a work in progress, and Tuesday was our toughest game so far.
“We felt we didn’t get out of second or third gear, but we still won the match against a very good team, so we’re pleased with that.”
Striker Warren Byrne, meanwhile, will go in search of more goals, having netted four times in his first three league appearances of the season.
He said: “It’s our first away game, and I’m sure it will be tough going there.
“They will be young lads, and non-stop, but hopefully we can keep it going and get another three points.
“We seem to be settling a bit now, and everyone is under pressure for their shirt.
“When you’re given it, you have to do everything you can to make sure you keep it, because there are some good lads at the moment who are not involved and will be desperate to get a shirt.
“I’ve managed to keep my shirt so far, and hopefully I can keep scoring goals to make sure it stays that way.”
Paul Kane remains suspended for Shields for the 3pm kick-off.
Willington, who are County Durham-based, have started their season with two home wins and two away defeats.
They play at Hall Lane, and the post code of the ground is DL15 0QC. To find the ground, follow the A194 and A1 to Chester-le-Street, before taking the A167 until you reach Neville’s Cross Bank, in Durham. Then follow the A690 until you get to Hall Lane Estate, where Willington’s ground can be found. It is an approximate journey of 25 miles.
The club would appreciate any support at the game.