Richie McLoughlin is relishing Jarrow Roofing’s underdog status as he prepares to lead his team into a South Tyneside derby with South Shields.
Despite Roofing experiencing a resurgence of late – winning their last three games in all competitions and keeping consecutive clean sheets for the first time since February – the form book suggests there should be only one winner when the two teams square off at Mariners Park.
Shields are unbeaten in their last 11 outings and have scored 35 goals in that time. They also sit second in the Ebac Northern League Division One, but the Roofing boss is adamant that his side have the quality to go there and claim the three points.
“We’ve got to go out there and give 110%, and I’ve got a feeling we’ll do that,” McLoughlin said. “We’ve won three games in a row, kept consecutive clean sheets and confidence is really high at the minute.
“I believe we have the quality to match them. A few weeks ago, I would have been worried about going there, but now I’m quite happy to do so.
“I think one of the main things we will tell the players before the game is to not be intimidated. They always have a great atmosphere at Mariners Park, and they have players who have played at the top of the game. We will need our experienced players to lead from the front and calm everyone down because the lads are really up for this game.”
McLoughlin has called on his Roofers to be smart and enjoy the occasion – and admits he’s missed the derby.
“It’s all about finding the right balance,” he added. “But this is a great chance to show what we can do against one of the favourites for the division.
“I also think it’s great for South Tyneside football that two sides from the local area are coming together to play each other. I love the derbies. I’ve really missed them the past couple of seasons.
In my opinion, you’ve got to have these matches – it’s one of the biggest games for us. When we’ve played them in the past, it’s always been nip and tuck, and that’s what I’m expecting again.”
Meanwhile, joint-manager Mark Collingwood has called on Roofing to be “fearless” when they make the trip over from Boldon.
“At the end of the day, it’s 11 v 11. On paper, their players should be better than ours. On paper, they’ve got a massive fanbase compared to ours. On paper, they should win. However, football is not played on paper, it’s played out on the pitch. It’s an even playing field, and it’s going to be a typical derby. We’re going to get stuck in, and we’re going to try and stop them from playing.”
Roofing captain Alex White is expected to be fit for the clash after missing the last few weeks due to a groin problem.