South Shields ready for '˜massive' derby with North Shields at Mariners Park
Jon King has backed his South Shields players to rise to the occasion in tonight's mouthwatering derby with North Shields at Mariners Park.
The cross-river rivals are going head-to-head in the League Cup, and over 1,000 tickets have been sold for the fixture.
The Mariners Park ground record of 1,500 could be in real threat, with the match having generated much excitement in the build-up.
South Shields go into it on the back of a 4-2 victory over Esh Winning in Northern League Division Two, which maintained their six-point lead at the top.
However, King knows they will need to improve if they are to overcome the Division One Robins, who won the FA Vase last season.
He said: “If we perform the same way we did on Saturday, we’ll go out of the cup, but these lads have been fantastic all season.
“It’s a big game, and the players will have themselves right for it.
“They’ll need to be at their best, because North Shields are a very good side.
“We’ve watched them on five or six occasions this season, and we know that if we’re not at our best, it will be very difficult.
“I’m always confident in the ability of these lads, though.
“We’ll also have the backing of a big crowd once again, and we’ll certainly need as much support as possible.”
Striker Warren Byrne – who scored twice in Saturday’s win – added: “This is a massive game for us.
“North Shields are a good side and we know that, but I think when we come up against better teams, we seem to raise our game. We play better against better teams.
“If you’re playing a lower team, sometimes you get brought down to their level.
“It’s a derby game, it’s going to be intense, and I just hope we put in a good performance and get a win.”
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 7.30pm, and a cash turnstile will be in operation.
Admission prices are £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s.
Meanwhile, places are still available on a supporters’ coach to the Mariners’ game at Thornaby on Saturday.
A seat on it costs £7 per person, and can be booked from Mariners Park or by calling 0191 454 7800.