South Shields boss gives team target heading into last 19 games

Lee Picton has set his South Shields players a target of 14 wins from their final 19 games as they bid for a third consecutive promotion.

Lee Picton has set his South Shields players a target of 14 more wins. Picture by Peter Talbot.
Lee Picton has set his South Shields players a target of 14 more wins. Picture by Peter Talbot.

The Mariners are top of the Evo-Stik North Division heading into tomorrow’s trip to Droylsden.

However, it’s tight at the top, with just six points separating the top five.

The sides which finish first and second will be automatically promoted to the Premier Division, with the teams in the next four positions to enter the play-offs.

Shields – having played fewer games than all of their nearest rivals – are in a strong position.

However, joint manager Picton insists there can be no let-up – and wants his team to reach 97 points.

They are currently on 55.He said: “Our season comes down to the next 19 games.

“Before last Saturday’s game against Hyde United, we talked about 20 games to go and could we get 15 wins?

“If we can, I think we’ll be where we want to be at the end of the season.

“Fourteen wins are what we’re looking for from the last 19 games, which would put us on around 97 points.

“You’d like to think that would be good enough.”

Shields have had a mixed last seven days.

They followed up last Saturday’s excellent 3-0 win over promotion rivals Hyde with a defeat on penalties to Hartlepool United on Tuesday as their defence of the Durham Challenge Cup came to an end.

Picton says it is vital the Mariners bounce back from their midweek disapointment tomorrow.

He added: “Tuesday was disappointing generally.

“I thought that game was probably a pretty accurate reflection of what we’ve been like for the last three months or so as a side.

“We had lots of chances to win the game and didn’t take them, the opposition got one or two chances at the other end and scored, and there was a massive variation from our top performers during the game and the lads at the bottom of the pile.

“Those three things have been prevalent in our game too often over the last three or four months and were again on Tuesday.

“It was a setback because we’re out of a cup competition, and one that we’re the holders of.

“We’ve got to make sure that it’s not a setback in terms of our focus and confidence going into tomorrow’s game, though, because we have only got one focus now.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re absolutely ready for tomorrow, and what will be another tough away game. We have to bounce back.”

Kick-off at Market Street – which has a post code of M43 7AY – is at 3pm.

In the reverse fixture, Shields defeated Droylsden 6-1 at Mariners Park in November, with braces from Carl Finnigan, Gavin Cogdon and Dillon Morse doing the damage.

Droylsden are having a decent season, though, and are ninth in the table heading into tomorrow’s fixture.