Striker Finnigan back for South Shields’ big FA Cup trip

Luke Sullivan, far left, celebrates one of his two goals at Scarborough on Monday. Picture by Peter Talbot.
Luke Sullivan, far left, celebrates one of his two goals at Scarborough on Monday. Picture by Peter Talbot.

Carl Finnigan returns from suspension tomorrow for South Shields’ big FA Cup clash with Witton Albion.

The Mariners are making the trip to Northwich, in Cheshire, for a first qualifying round tie.

A large travelling support is expected to follow them as Shields look to reach the second qualifying round for the first time since 1997.

They are sure to be given a tough battle by Witton, though, who play one division above the Mariners in the Evo-Stik Premier.

Shields have started their campaign with five consecutive wins in all competitions, but Witton are in similarly good form, with three wins and two draws from their first six league fixtures.

The Mariners’ joint manager, Lee Picton, knows the size of the task ahead of his side tomorrow.

He said: “It’s going to be a big test for us. It will be a different kind of test, because they’re flying high in the league above us.

“We’re going to go down there and potentially be underdogs, which is slightly unusual for us.

“It will be a different test for us, but one we’re thoroughly looking forward to after our performance on Monday at Scarborough.”

Monday’s game saw the Mariners win 3-1 at Scarborough, extending their early lead in Evo-Stik North.

That was one of three matches Finnigan missed after receiving a red card in the opening-day victory at Trafford.

His return will be a major boost for Shields tomorrow, but they will be without Barrie Smith, who is on holiday.

Kick-off is at 3pm, and places on supporters’ coaches are still available.

To book a coach place through Westoe Travel, call 0191 455 2292.

The Simonside Branch of the club’s supporters also has coach seats available by calling 07706 517010.

Meanwhile, the Witton Chimes, on 122 Witton Street, Northwich, CW9 5NW, is offering free food to Shields fans ahead of the game. The bar is about a 10 to 15-minute walk from ground, which has a postcode of CW9 6DA.