Jon Shaw is sure South Shields can complete another historic quadruple trophy haul – if Hartlepool United are the biggest test non-league football can offer.
The Mariners were dumped out of the FA Cup at the weekend by Craig Harrison’s men, one of the form sides of the National League, but did run the fifth tier outfit close on Saturday.
And Shaw believes that if Pools represent one of the toughest challenges outside of league football, then he sees no reason why Shields can’t win the FA Trophy, as well as the Evo-Stik North title, Durham Challenge Cup and Integro League Cup, starting tonight with Farsley Celtic in the latter.
“We want to sweep the board,” said Shaw.
“Last year we aimed to win everything and we did.
“We are out of the same competition a little later than we were last year but we still have four things to win. That’s what we aim to do.
“I said to the lads let’s go and win the FA Trophy now. That is certainly the way to get over the result.
“We were never going to win the FA Cup but if Hartlepool are the best the Trophy has to offer then we can back ourselves to do well.
“We need to approach every game the right way though and again tonight.”
There are few more experienced in the Shields squad than Shaw, especially outside of the Football League.
It’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about the Trophy, too.
And he admits it’s not always the best teams in the National League who triumph come May.
“I have played a lot of Conference football in my time and from experience it is not always the teams at the top at that level who win the competition,” he said.
“We are in a league which is ranked the lowest. We are at the top of that league and we believe we are good enough to get promoted and have a big impact at the league above us. That’s the belief we have.
“We see what we have in this squad. We see it twice a week in training and on the pitch on a Saturday.
“Everyone has their feet on the ground, no egos, good experience and some young players who want to develop. It is a great place to work. We are geared for success.”
Reflecting back on Saturday’s game Shaw, who picked up the sponsors’ man of the match, has mixed emotions.
While he knows the squad could not have given any more on the day and has pride at the run in the competition, he feels that luck eluded his side on the day.
Shaw said: “It was our fifth game just to get to that stage – for that reason everyone should be immensely proud of their achievements.
“We have gone through some big teams who are much higher than us. We have shown what kind of a team we are and what we want to be.
“But I’m not sure we did enough in the second 45.
“We made some strange decisions in certain areas of the pitch. We didn’t take our chances.”
Tonight’s game against Farsley Celtic is a 7.45pm kick-off at Mariners Park.