South Shields boss sets side target ahead of last 12 games
Lee Picton has set his South Shields team a target of winning 10 of their remaining 12 league games to seal a third successive promotion.
The Mariners, who are second in the Evo-Stik North Division, know a top-two placing would secure their place in next season’s Premier Division.
They are two points behind leaders Hyde United, with two games in hand, heading into tomorrow’s home match against Ramsbottom United.
Third-placed Scarborough Athletic, meanwhile, trail Shields by two points, having played a game more.
The Mariners suffered a setback on Tuesday when they lost 3-2 at fourth-placed Bamber Bridge, but joint manager Picton insists that confidence in the camp remains high.
He has now set his side a target of 10 wins ahead of the closing few weeks of the campaign.
Picton said: “We’ve got to dust ourselves down from Tuesday.
“We’ve got a run of a few home games now, and we’ve got to really gather some momentum over the next three or four games, which we’re confident we can do.
“There have been some pleasing aspects of the last couple of games, and we’ve got to build on those and learn from the mistakes we made on Tuesday.
“You can’t control what goes on elsewhere, but we’ve got 12 games left, and if we can win 10 of those, unless something extraordinary happens, I think we’ll win the league.
“It’s in our own hands.
“We’re still in the position that everybody else would like to be in, and we’ve got to bounce back from the disappointment of Tuesday.”
Shields’ next four games in the league are at home, giving them an opportunity to build some momentum over the coming weeks.
They have not played at Mariners Park since February 24, when they drew 0-0 with Radcliffe.
Picton says the Mariners are eager to get back on home soil.
He added: “It seems like an absolute age since we played at home.
“We’re looking forward to getting in front of the Mariners Park faithful, and hopefully giving them something to shout about.
“We just want to get back on track.
“We’ve got to get on the right side of those fine margins, and really start to try and build some momentum.”
In the reverse fixture between the sides last December, Shields won 3-2.
Ramsbottom are 15th in the table heading into tomorrow’s game, having won their last two matches.
Shields will be without the injured Anthony Callaghan, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a back complaint.
There are also doubts over Matty Pattison (knee) and Barrie Smith (hamstring) heading into the 3pm kick-off.
Pattison sustained an injury in Tuesday’s defeat at Bamber Bridge, and had to be replaced during the second half.
Picton said: “It might not be a great one.
“Matty twisted his knee, so we’ll have to see how that one settles down and hopefully our physio, Andy Morris, can work some magic.”
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