South Shields and Jarrow Roofing go head to head in a South Tyneside derby tonight as both sides look to maintain their good form.
The Mariners enjoy home advantage, and could be backed by another four-figure crowd at Mariners Park, having already had four attendances of over 1,000 this season.
Hopefully we’ll hit the ground running tonight and get the crowd behind us early doorsLee Picton
They progressed to the first round of the FA Vase on Saturday with a comfortable 4-0 victory at Esh Winning, but know they are in for a tougher task tonight against a Roofing side who have won their last three games.
Shields joint manager Lee Picton has urged his team to take advantage of the big home support and start well to wrestle control.
Picton will be coming up against former Whitley Bay team-mate Paul Chow, who is still regularly on the scoresheet for Roofing.
The pair won the FA Vase together with Whitley at Wembley in 2009 and 2010, and Picton knows the Mariners will have to be on their guard against the experienced striker.
He said: “There are a couple of lads there who I know personally, and I’m hoping Mr Chow has a quiet game.
“We’ve got to come out of the blocks well.
“I was a little bit disappointed with how we started on Saturday, but hopefully we’ll hit the ground running tonight and get the crowd behind us early doors.
“I think the grass is going to be a little bit shorter, so hopefully we can move the ball around a bit quicker and start to click into gear.”
Shields hope to welcome back Craig Baxter from injury tonight after he was forced to sit out the last two games, while strikers Jon Shaw and Gavin Cogdon are now back to fitness.
Shaw played the full game at Esh Winning as a makeshift centre-back, while Cogdon scored the Mariners’ fourth goal as a substitute.
Picton is confident the squad will soon be back at close to full strength.
He added: “Our physio, Andy Morris, has been really busy over the last few weeks.
“It was great to see Jon Shaw get most of the game under his belt on Saturday and Gavin Cogdon was back into the action.
“Julio Arca and David Foley are also not far away, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll be available tonight.
“Craig Baxter should hopefully be back, so we’re slowly but surely getting through the injuries.
“It will be a tough decision as to who to leave out.”
Shields have suffered a fresh blow ahead of tonight’s game, though, with 18-year-old left-back Ewan Simpson set to miss out with an ankle injury. Simpson played the full 90 minutes on Saturday and got on the scoresheet, while he won the club’s man of the match award.
Danny Carson is available again to cover that loss, though, while Ben Riding has returned from honeymoon.
It is a game right-back Barrie Smith is particularly looking forward to.
He said: “I love games like this. Everyone will be giving 100% and getting stuck in.
“I’ve got no doubt, with the players we’ve got, that we can mix it up and be physical if we need to be.”
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 7.30pm, with admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – costing £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s and £2 for under-16s. Hospitality packages are £25, and can be bought by calling 0191 454 7800.
Meanwhile, Shields have been drawn to host Runcorn Linnets in the first round of the FA Vase on Saturday, October 22. Jarrow Roofing are away to Atherton Collieries.