Shields boss: We need to make ourselves harder to beat

CAPTAIN ... Chris Locke, right, is presented with the South Shields player of the month award for December by Nyall Matthias, of club sponsors Shaun Matthias.
CAPTAIN ... Chris Locke, right, is presented with the South Shields player of the month award for December by Nyall Matthias, of club sponsors Shaun Matthias.

JON King says South Shields need to become ‘harder to play against’ if they are to return to winning ways this weekend.

The Mariners have lost their last three games, leaving them 16th in Northern League Division Two.

King wants his side to become more compact and difficult to break down as they seek a positive result at Darlington RA tomorrow.

Shields lost 3-2 at home to Willington last weekend, and that highlighted a problem the manager feels needs to be addressed.

King said: “We need to tighten up. We haven’t got a problem scoring goals, and we have proved that throughout the season, but we are conceding far too many.

“We need to make ourselves harder to beat and more difficult to play against. As a team, we need to improve our shape and make sure we are more compact when we haven’t got the ball.

“Even last week, when we started without a recognised striker, we managed to score two goals, and when you do that at home, you should win the game.

“You can look at that fact we were missing a few lads in the forward positions, which of course was going to affect the team, but two goals should be enough to at least get you a point, especially at home.”

Shields – who are hopeful of adding two Division One players to their squad in the near future – lost to Darlington RA 5-3 earlier in the season after goalkeeper Brett Wilson was sent off.

King added: “Darlington RA have improved a lot and have signed a lot of good players. I thought we were very comfortable when we played them in August until Brett was sent off. I think we would have won the game if it wasn’t for that.

“We know it will be a tough task on Saturday, though, as they are having a very good season and are flying high in the table.”

Craig Roberts, David Molloy, Stephen Ramsey and Adam Ward are doubtful for Shields, with the game set to kick-off at 3pm at Brinkburn Road. Lee Maitland, though, should be available again.

Twitter: @danielprince18