Lee Picton has backed South Shields to show their mettle in the FA Vase this weekend – and bounce back from Saturday’s derby frustration.
In front of a crowd of 2,651, North Shields scored late on to snatch a 1-0 win at Mariners Park in Northern League Division One.
But the South Tynesiders have no time to dwell on the defeat, with a crucial home FA Vase tie against Marske United coming up on Saturday.
They are sure to be difficult opponents, as in the two encounters between the sides so far this season, Marske have won one and claimed a draw in the other.
Mariners joint manager Picton, though, has challenged the players to respond in style.
He said: “The sign of any good team is that, after a setback, they react in a positive way.
“That’s exactly what we’re looking for on Saturday.
“We’ve dusted ourselves off and we’ll be ready for this game, because it’s massive for us. We’ve hit the reset button and hopefully we’ll be able to get back to winning ways.”
The Mariners could be given a major boost next month with the return of defender Louis Storey.
Storey broke his leg and damaged ankle ligaments in September’s win at West Auckland Town.
Following an operation, his recovery is going well, so much so that Picton is hoping to have him available at some point in December.
Captain Leepaul Scroggins, though, is expected to miss at least another fortnight with a knee injury, and Gavin Cogdon is also still recovering from a groin strain.
Meanwhile, a clash between two of the Mariners’ title rivals – Shildon and North Shields – was postponed last night because of snow.
That means the Robins remain eight points clear of South Shields at the top, although the Mariners have two games in hand.
Picton said: “In terms of the league, we’re at the halfway point now, and our challenge in the second half of the season is to amass the same number of points, if not more. If we can do that, we’ll definitely be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
“It’s all about the Vase this weekend, though, and hopefully we can produce a big performance to get through to the next round.”