South Shields captain Jon Shaw says tomorrow’s huge clash against Warrington Town is the perfect game to put their FA Cup disappointment behind them.
A below-par Mariners bowed out of the FA Cup last weekend, conceding a last-minute winner to former Football League side Stockport County.
It was a bitter blow for the club, and followed on from their midweek League Cup exit at the hands of rivals Morpeth Town.
With those two defeats fresh in the minds, and a lengthy injury list, a trip to take on promotion rivals Warrington may not seem the best game to try and bounce back in.
Not so, says Shaw, who insists the players are ready to put their recent disappointments behind them.
“We’re not a team or squad who looks for excuses,” he said. “There’s enough people out there willing us to fail.
“There’s a lot of things that have gone against us this last week or two but that didn’t really affect our performance against Stockport, we have to look to ourselves for that.
“As soon as that game was lost it was a case of getting back to looking at the league which is effectively what we want to win, and what a game to come back into.
“We come back in against one of the toughest sides, long journey but the hard work will have been put in during the week.”
Shields sit atop the Evo-Stik Premier table, with Warrington in third, and Shaw admits it is a huge clash.
However, with barely a month of the league campaign having been played, he insists it isn’t a make or break game.
“You don’’t lose a league this early in the season,” he added. “Yes, we want to win the game, yes we want to stay top of the table and keep the momentum and confidence going but at the same time we’ve got to be prepared, knowing it can be tough and if the result doesn’t quite go our way, we bounce back again next week.”
The management duo of Graham Fenton and Lee Picton have a number of selection headaches to consider – particularly in attack.
Striker Gavin Cogdon is set to miss at least four weeks of action with a hamstring injury which saw him limp off in the first half against Stockport, while Carl Finnigan suffered a rib injury in the same game and is a doubt for tomorrow’s game, as is David Foley, who pulled out of Tuesday’s training session with a groin injury.
Josh Gillies, meanwhile, missed out against Stockport after sustaining an ankle injury in training but could be available for the Warrington trip though the game will come too soon for striker Ben Harmison.
With Robert Briggs also a doubt after an ankle injury forced him off against Stockport, it all adds up to a busy treatment table for physio Andy Morris, but Shaw is confident that whoever comes in tomorrow will be ready for action.
Shaw added: “You can’t afford to sit there and dwell on it and feel sorry for yourself.
“I’m not one to do that anyhow and neither are the lads in the changing room but it’s a case of if we see anyone feeling sorry for themselves we need to get round them quickly and get everybody ready for this game.
“With the injuries and the circumstances at the minute, all that does is bring opportunities for somebody else. There are lads hungry and chomping at the bit.
“Whoever comes in to the side will be at it and the lads who played last week will be looking to get over it very quickly.”
Warrington were held to a 3-3 draw by Northern League side Consett last weekend in the FA Cup, but won the replay on Tuesday night 2-0.