Former Sunderland man Jordan Hunter to miss out as South Shields host Black Cats' U23s in Durham Challenge Cup

South Shields host Sunderland’s Under-23s on Wednesday as the teams get their Durham Challenge Cup bids underway this season.

By Dan Prince
Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 2:45 pm
Jordan Hunter (far right) will miss the clash
Jordan Hunter (far right) will miss the clash

Manager Graham Fenton has suggested he will use the tie as an opportunity to rotate his Shields squad as players in need of match action are given a chance to shine.

A strong XI is expected to be fielded at 1st Cloud Arena, though, with midfielders Robert Briggs and Callum Ross among those in contention to start after missing Saturday’s league defeat to Buxton with COVID-19.

Fenton said: “This game will provide opportunities for some of our players who have had to be very patient this season in waiting for their chance to play.

Former Sunderland player Blair Adams in action for South Shields.

“Those young lads have been training exceptionally hard to develop their skills and game understanding, and it’s going to be really interesting to see how they get on against some talented players.

“Myself and Jon (Shaw) have seen Sunderland’s Under-23s play on numerous occasions this season and we look forward to seeing what sort of team they’re able to put out after the first-team’s game on Tuesday.

“I’m sure that whichever team they field will provide us with healthy competition and we’re expecting another tough challenge.”

Shields suffered a blow on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 at home by promotion rivals Buxton in the league.

While the result was clearly a disappointment, as well as the team’s inability to finish the chances they created, Fenton insists there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

He added: “It was a disappointing result, but it’s safe to say the game could have gone a completely different way had we taken our chances.

“Buxton are a well-organised team with some very good individuals, but we created some very dangerous situations which we were unfortunately unable to capitalise on.

“That is definitely an area we need to improve in the coming weeks and months, and we’re working hard in training to try to turn those good situations into more clear goalscoring opportunities and more goals.

“We have to take the positives from Saturday’s game, particularly the way we played in the first 25 minutes of the second half, when we felt we controlled things very well, created some good chances and limited Buxton to very few opportunities.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t continue that for the full half and they managed to capitalise on our mistake, which is what we were unable to do at the other end.”

Shields welcome Ross and Briggs back into contention, but remain without Jordan Hunter (arm), Joao Gomes (knee) and Will Jenkins (leg).

The winners of Wednesday’s game will travel to Crook Town in the first round of the competition.

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 7.30pm and admission prices are £6 for adults, £4 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £2 for under-16s. The turnstiles will open at 5.30pm and tickets can be bought in advance by going to www.southshieldsfc.co.uk before 3pm on Wednesday. Cash payments will be accepted at the gates.

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