Willington vs South Shields Preview
South Shields get their Ebac Northern League Division Two season under way on Saturday when they travel to Willington.
Much has changed at the club since the end of last season, with Lee Bell joining as manager Jon King’s assistant, and a host of player additions and departures.
King and Bell have opted for a smaller pool of players this term, with 21 currently signed-on.
There is a youthful feel to the squad, with 12 of those 21 aged 23 or under, and just three aged 30 or over.
King is confident Shields will improve on last season’s 17th-placed finish, and is happy with the “tighter” squad that has been put together.
He said: “I had never been in the Second Division before last season, and the club was also coming to terms with playing out of the town.
“It was more like a season of stability. Now, things are a bit more stable, and I know we will improve on last season.
“It will also be an added bonus if we don’t have a gap of two or three months in the middle of the season like we did last time, because of the weather.
“We wanted a tighter and more united squad, and we will have a much more settled squad this season.”
Shields go into Saturday’s match on the back of a decent pre-season, which included wins over Consett and Horden, as well as a 3-1 triumph over Boldon to lift the Sam Bartram Memorial Cup.
Left-back James Pickering, as well as midfielders David Conroy and Adam Sharp, are set to miss out on the Willington game through injury.
The game, at Willington’s Hall Lane ground, kicks off at 3pm.
South Shields squad (from): Brett Wilson; Chris Locke, Graham Stephenson, Colin White, Aron Burn, Jordan Fraser, David Halliday, James Pickering, Lee Bell; Andrew Renton, Kyle Houshby, Barry Marshall, Abu Salim, Lee Maitland, Barrie Smith, David Conroy, Adam Sharp, Chris Feasey, Dean Black; David Molloy, Stephen Ramsey.
For sat-navers, the ground postcode is DL15 OQC, while the telephone number is 01388 745912.
Road directions: A1 to Chester le Street and then A167 to A690 to Willington or A1 to A690 onto Willington, distance approximately 25 miles.