Kevin Phillips insists South Shields’ clash with Hyde United is most important of season

The Mariners were widely praised for their performance against League One side Forest Green Rovers on Saturday as they were narrowly beaten in the first round of the FA Cup.

A superb second half showing has bolstered Shields’ confidence heading into the clash with Hyde at 1st Cloud Arena as the hosts look to close the gap at the top to two points.

Shields’ exploits in the cup have left them playing catch-up in the league, and they have at least three games in hand on every other team.

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Phillips said: “This is a hugely important match for us in terms of our league ambitions.

South Shields manager Kevin Phillips. Picture by Kev Wilson.South Shields manager Kevin Phillips. Picture by Kev Wilson.
South Shields manager Kevin Phillips. Picture by Kev Wilson.

“I’ve said many times that the league is the most important thing for us this season, and it’s back to the bread and butter of trying to win points against Hyde.

“The lads are really determined to produce a positive result and performance.

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“We’re in for a very tough test against a team that is flying in our league, and we have to get back on the horse in what I believe is our biggest game of the season so far.

“Hyde are top of the table and deserve to be where they are, but if we can pick up where we left off in the second half on Saturday, not many teams in our league will be able to live with us.”

A record 1st Cloud Arena crowd of 3,800 watched Shields take on Forest Green, and Phillips feels the fans will be crucial again as his team take on Hyde.

He added: “The fans were magnificent on Saturday, and I urge them to really get behind the team again on Tuesday, because it’s a massive help to the players.

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“We had an amazing run in the FA Cup and everyone connected to the club deserved the massive occasion on Saturday, but it’s time to forget about that now, because it’s back to the business of trying to win matches in this league.

“Our home form has been fantastic for a long time, and we want to continue that against Hyde and in the run of matches we’ve got coming up at 1st Cloud Arena.

“The crowd will undoubtedly play a big part in helping us, and hopefully it will prove to be a successful evening.”

Shields remain without striker Sam Hodgson and there is a doubt over midfielder Callum Ross (back), but forward Will Russ is available again after missing Saturday’s match due to being cup-tied.

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Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 7.45pm and admission prices are from £12 for adults, £9 for students and over-65s, £5 for those aged 13 to 16, and £3 for under-12s.

Tickets can be bought before 5pm on Tuesday from Shields’ website, but fans can also pay at the turnstiles, which open at 5.30pm.