Picton tells Shields to forget Vase heroics and focus on Marske clash
South Shields turn their attentions back to their promotion bid tomorrow when Marske United visit Mariners Park.
The Mariners were euphoric on Wednesday after seeing off FA Vase holders Morpeth Town in a controversial fourth round tie.
Shields romped to a 4-0 victory at Craik Park, just four days after the original match had been abandoned due to floodlight failure, with Morpeth holding a 4-2 lead.
Their fifth round tie at Southampton-based Team Solent is still a fortnight away, and Shields know they cannot afford to take their eye off the ball in the league in the meantime.
A top-three finish would be enough to secure promotion, and the Mariners are currently second, eight points behind leaders North Shields with two games in hand.
Joint manager Lee Picton is under no illusions as to the importance of tomorrow’s match.
He said: “We said straight after the final whistle on Wednesday that we had to draw a line under that game completely.
“We’ve got to focus on the league now.
“Three massive points are at stake tomorrow and we’ve got to look after ourselves and prepare as equally well for this game.
“If we can get our levels anywhere near we had them on Wednesday, we’ve got a really strong chance of picking up another three points.”
This is the fourth meeting between Shields and Marske so far this season, with a win apiece in cup competitions, and a draw in the reverse league fixture.
Picton is hoping the Mariners will be backed by another large crowd after a huge following travelled to Morpeth on Wednesday.
He added: “The fans were magnificent on Wednesday.
“They really, really got behind the lads, which helped.
“The vast majority of the time they do that.
“We hear the odd murmur when we’re at home at times and things aren’t going exactly our way.
“It’s a two-way relationship. We’ve got to give the fans something to shout about, and then hopefully that’s reciprocated and we can work together to get the most out of our performances.”
Strike pair Gavin Cogdon and David Foley will be hoping to pick up where they left off on Wednesday, when they helped themselves to two goals apiece.
Foley – who has scored 15 goals in his last 10 games – is excited about linking up with the former Spennymoor Town forward.
He said: “We’re similar. We’re both speedy players who like to play on the shoulder. The pitch didn’t really suit us at Morpeth, as it cut up early and was very heavy on the legs, but we seemed to work well together.
“I was really pleased for Gav as well, having missed a lot of football recently.
“He got two really good goals, and I got two myself as well, which is always a great feeling for a striker.”
Shields welcome left-back Anthony Callaghan back into the fold for tomorrow’s game, as he is cup-tied in the Vase.
They are without captain Leepaul Scroggins and defender Louis Storey, though, with Scroggins having suffered a broken leg this week, and Storey having almost recovered from his.
Kick-off is at 3pm and admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.