Ex-Sunderland and Middlesbrough star Julio Arca all set for South Shields debut

Julio Arca and Jon King ahead of South Shields' game with Easington Colliery last week. Picture by Peter Talbot.
Julio Arca and Jon King ahead of South Shields' game with Easington Colliery last week. Picture by Peter Talbot.

Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough star Julio Arca has been backed to make an immediate impact ahead of his expected debut for South Shields tomorrow.

Arca, who completed a shock switch to the Mariners last week, is set to make his first Northern League appearance against Stokesley at Mariners Park.

The midfielder, who can also play at left-back, only retired from professional football in 2013, and played in the Sunday League for Willow Pond last season.

Manager Jon King is convinced the Argentine will slot in straightaway with the Northern League Division Two promotion-chasers.

He said: “The signing of Julio is a massive coup for the club, and it’s something which has been going on for the last six weeks.

WATCH: Julio Arca training with his new team for the first time

I think Julio will fit in straightaway, and it’s going to be great to see him in a Shields shirt for the first time

Jon King

“He was always interested in signing, and it’s great to have him here. He’ll bring so many fantastic attributes to us. He’s very professional, a fantastic footballer and still has good fitness.

“I think he’ll fit in straightaway, and it’s going to be great to see him in a Shields shirt for the first time. He has said that he wants to be the best in everything he does, and is still very competitive, so he’s going to bring so much to us.”

Arca, meanwhile, tweeted yesterday: “Only two days left to make my debut for South Shields, Looking forward to a good start. Come and support the team fans.”

Stokesley are bottom, having lost all nine games so far, but King insists Shields will not be complacent in front of what could be another large crowd.

He added: “The crowd of 642 last week was incredible, and if we could get a similar one, or even better, tomorrow, it would give everyone a huge lift. Once we get people to the games, we need to bring them back. It’s important we get a good results, play attractive football and impress as much as we can.

“Last week’s result was disappointing for us, so it’s vital we bounce back.

“Some people might expect us to beat Stokesley easily, but we don’t get carried away with the table. We beat Darlington RA 6-0 last month and they’re top, so that shows how unpredictable it can be, but if we do our job properly, tomorrow should be comfortable.”

Shields will be without Adam Sakr, Jonny Wightman and David Foley for the 3pm kick-off at Mariners Park, with Stephen Ramsey and Wayne Phillips doubtful.