Graham Fenton previews clash between South Shields and 'difficult' Lancaster City
Graham Fenton says South Shields head into Tuesday’s game against Lancaster City with a “spring in their step” as they look to continue their excellent start to the season.
The Mariners have won eight and drawn two of their 10 league games so far to establish a two-point lead at the top of the Northern Premier League.
Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Warrington Town at 1st Cloud Arena was another impressive one against notoriously difficult opponents, despite the Yellows clawing two goals back from a 3-0 deficit in the second half.
The late nerves Shields experienced in that match were a reminder of the improvements Fenton is seeking from his side, but the positives undoubtedly far outweigh the negatives as they prepare for another home fixture on Tuesday.
Fenton said: “It was a really pleasing performance for the most part on Saturday.
“There were a couple of little bits of sloppiness to let them in and they were clinical with their chances, whereas we were a little wasteful with ours.
“On the whole, though, it was a very pleasing performance and we head into the Lancaster game with a real spring in our step.”
Lancaster started the season in excellent form and were among the early pace-setters before a run of four league games without a win.
They ended that sequence with a 3-2 victory over Ashton United on Saturday but then suffered a blow when the league’s top goalscorer, Sam Fishburn, was recalled from his loan spell by Carlisle United.
Despite the Dolly Blues now being without the marksman, Fenton knows the kind of task which awaits his side.
He added: “Lancaster are always difficult to play against and have some decent players, particularly at the top end of the pitch.
“We know they’ve lost Fishburn but they’ll undoubtedly continue to be a real threat, so we’ll have to be on good form again.
“We’ve put a plan together to try to get another three points and hope to entertain the fans with an ultimately winning performance.”
Callum Stead will hope to make his second appearance for the Mariners after a bright showing as a substitute on his debut on Saturday.
Fenton said: “He looks like he wants to run in behind, which is great.
“He was playing against two defenders who weren’t the most mobile and he wanted to threaten the space in behind.
“When you have strikers like that you know you’ll be able to create lots of chances if you get the pass right.”
Shields will continue to be without captain Blair Adams, right-back Jordan Hunter and midfielder Joao Gomes in Tuesday's match.
Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 7.45pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £3 for under-16s.
Tickets are available from Shields’ website but cash turnstiles will also be in operation on matchday. The gates will open at 5.30pm.
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