South Shields must be at their best to overcome Farsley in FA Trophy, says Lee Picton
Lee Picton insists South Shields will have to be at their very best to keep their dreams of a return trip to Wembley alive tomorrow.
The Mariners are at Farsley Celtic in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy.
Despite their status as one of the lowest-ranked teams in the competition, Shields have told of their hope of going deep into it, and challenging the top non-league sides in the country.
To progress to the second qualifying round, they will have to overcome a gap of one division to beat Farsley, who are flying high in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Shields defeated them on penalties in the League Cup last week, but joint manager Picton is expecting an altogether different task tomorrow.
He said: “We’re away from home, so that will pose a different test for us.
“Although Farsley fielded quite a few players who started in their previous league game when they came up here in the League Cup, there will be changes from the team we played against.
“I’ve got no idea what their mentality towards the League Cup was, so they may well come with a more serious mentality towards tomorrow’s game, I don’t know.
“I don’t think we can take a huge amount from the game we played against them a week or so ago.
“Their position in the table in the Evo-Stik Premier Division doesn’t lie.
“They’re in the top four and are there for a reason.
“We’ve got to give them respect for that, and are going to have to be at our best to get the right result.”
Farsley were promoted from the Evo-Stik North Division – where Shields currently play – via the play-offs last season.
They have adapted to life at the higher level very well, and are fourth in the table.
Shields followed up last Saturday’s 3-2 win at Mossley with a 4-0 success against Jarrow Roofing in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday.
They made eight changes to their starting line-up for the match against Roofing, and the performance of the team has left the management with some difficult decisions to make tomorrow.
Picton added: “We were really pleased with a number of aspects of the performance on Tuesday, particularly how well some of those who were brought in played.
“They got some good game-time under their belts and impressed with their play. The more players we can have in the squad that are in a bit of form, the better.
“We want players to stake a claim every time they go out on the pitch, because there is so much competition and so much quality in our squad.
“If you don’t stake your claim, somebody else will and you’re not going to get much game-time.
“It was pleasing that a few players stuck their neck out on Tuesday a little bit.
“Again, we’ve got some tough decisions to make ahead of what’s going to be a really difficult game tomorrow.”
Shields are hoping to have captain Julio Arca available for tomorrow’s game after he sat out of the Roofing match with an ankle injury.
Kick-off in tomorrow’s game at Throstle Nest – which is in Leeds, and has a post code of LS28 5BE – is at 3pm.
Admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and £1 for under-16s.
For any late coach places, call Westoe Travel on 0191 455 2292.