South Shields ready for Hartlepool test, insists Lee Picton

Action from last night's game at Mariners Park which saw South Shields lose out 2-1 to Spennymoor.
Action from last night's game at Mariners Park which saw South Shields lose out 2-1 to Spennymoor.

Lee Picton insists his South Shields side are full of belief they can take the scalp of Hartlepool United on Saturday – and continue their stunning FA Cup run.

The Mariners have already seen off three teams from higher opposition on their way to the fourth qualifying round of the competition.

Witton Albion, Darlington and York City have all been beaten in superb fashion, but Pools are sure to provide the stiffest competition of the lot at Mariners Park.

National League Premier side Hartlepool have hit form recently, but Shields are in excellent shape themselves.

They have the confidence of 50 wins from their last 52 games behind them, and joint manager Picton feels there’s no reason for them to be fearful on Saturday.

He said: “Across pre-season and the competitive games we’ve had so far, we’ve played seven teams that are higher than us in the pyramid and have yet to be beaten.

“We fear nobody in non-league football.

“People can take that however they want to take it, but we’re oozing with confidence at the moment.

“We’ve got lots of different options within our squad.

“I’m not saying we’re going to win every game – far from it – but we’re going to go into every game thinking that we’ve got a really good chance, including on Saturday.”

There is again expected to be a sell-out crowd at Mariners Park as Shields aim to make it into the first round proper of the FA Cup since the club reformed in 1974.

To beat Pools would surely be their biggest achievement so far.

Picton added: “Hartlepool had a difficult start to the season, but they’ve picked up and are on a decent run now.

“The National League is a really tough league with no easy games in it.

“They seemed to find it tough to adjust in the early stages, but have shown some promising signs lately.

“They’re a team that is getting better every week, and are certainly better than their current position in the table might suggest.”

Tickets for Saturday’s game are now on sale to Shields season ticket holders, sponsors and members, and will go on general sale tomorrow at Mariners Park.