Julio Arca insists South Shields’ confidence has not been shaken by their two-game winless run – and that they feel stronger than ever as a team.
The Mariners go into tomorrow’s top-of-the-table clash with Bamber Bridge on the back of two draws in a row.
A pre-Christmas 2-2 draw with Trafford at Mariners Park was followed by a 1-1 scoreline at Kendal Town on Boxing Day as Shields’ lead at the top of the Evo-Stik North Division was reduced to two points.
However, Arca says they remain in confident mood heading into tomorrow’s match away to third-placed Bamber Bridge, who are five points off the pace having played a game more.
The Shields captain said: “This is a big week for us, because we also play Scarborough on New Year’s Day and they are up there with us as well.
“To play two games in three days is a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.
People might see that South Shields have drawn two games in a row and think we’re struggling, but we’re stronger than ever as a group and a teamJulio Arca
“People might see that South Shields have drawn two games in a row and think we’re struggling, but we’re stronger than ever as a group and a team.
“We’re aiming to get six points from the next two games.”
Arca has played a part in each of the last two games after a short period out with an ankle injury.
He feels close to full fitness.
He added: “I’m feeling better, though I’m still feeling the ankle a little bit.
“Boxing Day was a big test for me, playing on a difficult surface, but it’s better than it has been and I’m looking forward to getting plenty of minutes on the pitch now.”
The midfielder will reach 100 appearances for the Mariners should he play a part against Bamber Bridge, and has told of his honour ahead of reaching that milestone.
Arca – who joined Shields in September 2015 – said: “It has been fantastic since day one.
“I was lucky to join the club at the beginning, when it was starting to grow, and it’s continuing to grow now.
“It’s fantastic to be part of the club and this team.
“I’m looking forward to being here at least this season and next.”
Shields will hope to welcome back Jack Norton and Andrew Stephenson, but there is a doubt over Robert Briggs heading into the 3pm kick-off at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Supporters heading to the game are advised to check social media on the day of the match, which could be in some doubt because of the weather.