JON King says tomorrow’s trip to Esh Winning is the type of game South Shields have to win if they are to challenge for a top 10 place this season.
The Mariners, who are 16th in Northern League Division Two, have strengthened their squad significantly in recent weeks.
Ben Riding and Chris Renshaw were brought in from Bishop Auckland and Crook Town respectively, while Baptiste Fixot joined from Durham City and Michael Turner signed from North Shields.
That has added some more competition for places, and has left manager King feeling “optimistic” ahead of the closing months of the campaign.
Shields have not played since a fine 2-1 win at Darlington RA two weeks ago, and are eager to get back on the pitch after Wednesday’s Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup quarter-final at Birtley Town was postponed.
Tomorrow, they travel to Esh Winning, who are third-bottom, but have had an upturn in fortunes.
Despite Esh’s recent improvement, King knows it is vital Shields pick up three points at West Terrace if they are to keep their hopes of a top 10 finish alive.
The Mariners are 16th, and 10 points off the top 10, heading into the game.
King said: “Esh Winning have had some good wins of late, so it’s going to be a difficult one.
“If our performance is anything like the one we put in at Darlington RA, though, I’m very confident we will win the match.
“We’ve got a much stronger squad now, with lots of competition for places, so I’m optimistic heading into each game.
“This is definitely the type of game we have to win if we want to finish in the top 10.
“We’re 10 points off that at the moment, so we’ve got to go there and get a result.”
Striker David Molloy has been ruled out of tomorrow’s game for Shields with an ankle injury.
However, there is a chance forward Craig Roberts could return from a hamstring injury.
Kick-off is at 3pm at West Terrace.