SOUTH Shields face a must-win game at home to Sunderland RCA tonight in their bid to beat the drop.
The Mariners are bottom of the Northern League Division One table, some eight points from survival.
But boss Jon King remains positive that they can avoid relegation with the help of some new – and old – faces.
King is set to hand a debut to goalkeeper James Winter tonight, while fellow new boys Chris Renshaw and Danni Lay are also set to start for the first time after Saturday’s game against Guisborough was postponed.
Shields didn’t sit idle at the weekend, instead taking on Wearside League neighbours Harton & Westoe in a friendly match.
The clash allowed long-term injury victims Stephen Ramsey and Mattie Soulsby to get a run out.
Tonight’s game may come too soon for the pair, but King hopes to have them available over the next couple of weeks.
Also in Division One, HEBBURN TOWN host Team Northumbria rocked by the impending departure of key midfielder Jonny Davis. The youngster is on the verge of signing for big-spending Darlington, who are eyeing promotion.
Hebburn boss Paul Bennett said: “Jonny joined us in the summer, and he has been outstanding for us.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we let him go, but he leaves with our best wishes, and is always welcome back.
“Jonny is a great lad to have around the place, and Darlington have themselves a top player.”
Davis wasn’t under contract at Hebburn, meaning the club will miss out on a transfer fee for the player.
However, Bennett hopes to add a couple of new faces to the ranks before the weekend.
Hebburn are trying to extend their run of good form tonight against a Team Northumbria side who were promoted with them in the summer.
And Bennett is expecting a tough game. He added: “Team North always pride themselves on good attacking, disciplined football, and they are a very fit side.
“Their last three games have produced three victories, including wins over Darlington and Bishop Auckland, so the threat and confidence is there for all to see.”