South Shields players warned to ‘stand up and be counted’

Lee Picton
Lee Picton

South Shields’ players have been urged to “stand up and be counted” in their first home game of the season tonight.

The Mariners drew 3-3 at Whitley Bay on Saturday after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser.

That means they are without a win in their opening three league games, but they return to Mariners Park for the first time since April tonight.

There are hopes a big crowd will be in attendance for the visit of Seaham Red Star, who have picked up three points to Shields’ two in Northern League Division One so far.

Shields assistant manager Lee Picton insists their standards must be higher if they are to pick up maximum points to get their season really up and running.

He said: “For the fans, more than anybody else, it’s important we get three points on Tuesday, and for the people who have put a lot into this football club.

“They all deserve a proper performance from this group, including ourselves as a management team.

“They deserve better than what they’ve had so far.

“If players or anybody else in the camp is struggling to get their heads around that, as I said to the lads in the changing room on Saturday, we’re going to be on a collision course.

“We’ve got to stand up and be counted.”

Shields have lost points in the last minute of their last two games, conceding a late winner at Newton Aycliffe and equaliser at Whitley Bay.

Picton, though, is hoping a return to home comforts will prove crucial tonight.

He added: “We’ve thrown the gauntlet down and the lads have got to prove themselves.

“This football club deserves more than what, as a group, we’re giving them at the moment, so it’s a simple decision for everyone in the camp.

“We’ve got to get our heads down, work harder and want it that little bit more, because we’re falling just the wrong side of the line in lots of different ways, and it needs to change quickly.

“Hopefully with a good crowd behind us tonight for our first home game, we can look to kick-start the season, because it needs to happen really quickly.”

Shields will hope to welcome back Julio Arca for tonight’s 7.30pm kick-off at Mariners Park, but major doubts remain over striker Stephen Ramsey and full-back Craig Baxter, while it is unclear whether wide man Wayne Phillips will be fit to return.