South Shields welcome Julio Arca back into the fold tonight as the Argentine midfielder returns to training.
Arca has been visiting family in Argentina since early July, but is now set to give Shields a timely boost ahead of a crunch double-header this weekend.
The Mariners host Bamber Bridge on Saturday before making the trip to Scarborough Athletic on Monday – two teams who will have aspirations of winning promotion this season.
Shields joint manager Lee Picton is pleased with the competition for places ahead of the weekend, despite Carl Finnigan remaining suspended.
He said: “We’re three games into the season and have won all three, but still feel there is so much yet to come.
“We’ve still got a lot of lads in the dressing room who aren’t 100% fit yet, and that’s going to have an impact as well.
“It was really, really good to have Gavin Cogdon back in the fold on Saturday after he returned from holiday, as well as Darren Lough, whose partner has now given birth.
“We’ve got Mr Arca coming back into training this week too, which will only strengthen us again, so there is lots of competition for places.”
Shields defeated Bridlington Town 3-1 at Mariners Park on Saturday to make progress in the FA Cup.
They have been drawn away to Evo-Stik Premier Division side Witton Albion in the first qualifying round, with the tie to take place on Saturday, September 2.
Picton added: “We’ve got the quality in our dressing room to go quite deep into the competition for a team at this level, but know it’s going to be difficult.”
Club sponsor Westoe Travel has places available on a supporters’ coach to the game, priced at £15 for adults, £14 for children and senior citizens, and £13 for those in the SSFC Members’ Club.
Call Westoe Travel on 0191 4559175 or visit the shop on 120 Westoe Road, South Shields, to book a seat.