Julio Arca relishing big occasion as South Shields prepare for record attendance in FA Vase quarter-final

Joint manager Lee Picton passes on some instructions to South Shields midfielder Julio Arca. Image by Peter Talbot.

Joint manager Lee Picton passes on some instructions to South Shields midfielder Julio Arca. Image by Peter Talbot.

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Julio Arca says South Shields’ players are relishing one of the club’s “biggest games for many years” on Saturday as they bid for a place in the FA Vase semi-finals.

More than 2,500 fans are expected to pack into Mariners Park for the quarter-final against Newport Pagnell Town.

I think it’s going to be one of South Shields’ biggest games for many years

Julio Arca

A victory for the Mariners would put them within a two-legged semi-final of a first appearance at Wembley in the club’s history.

With over 2,500 tickets sold, and more remaining on sale, the ground attendance record of 2,651 could be broken on Saturday.

Arca is hopeful that support will inspire Shields as they bid for a 19th consecutive victory in all competitions.

The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder said: “I think this is going to be one of South Shields’ biggest games for many years.

“A win would take us one step closer to the dream, and hopefully we’ll perform at our best to make sure that happens.

“It will be incredible to have so much support behind us. It’s fantastic for the club and shows how much it has grown over the last 18 months.

“Everyone’s eyes are going to be on us on Saturday, and that is something we should be relishing as players.”

Arca is confident that if Shields perform to their best on Saturday, they will take some stopping.

But he knows there will be some pre-match butterflies.

He added: “As a player, it’s obvious that you’re going to feel the pressure at this stage of a competition like this.

“It will be natural if there are a few nerves before the game.

“However, when we’re out there we just need to concentrate on performing the way we know we can.

“If we perform in that way, I think our quality will shine through.

“We just need to do the basics right, play the football we like to play and work hard. Hopefully we’ll get our rewards if we do that.”

Remaining tickets can be bought by visiting Mariners Park or calling 0191 454 7800.