Title favourites South Shields will not be complacent, insists manager King

Wayne Phillips, pictured during a friendly against Darlington, is set to be fit for tomorrow's fixture after a slight groin injury. Image by Peter Talbot.
Wayne Phillips, pictured during a friendly against Darlington, is set to be fit for tomorrow's fixture after a slight groin injury. Image by Peter Talbot.

Jon King has insisted his South Shields side will be taking nothing for granted this season – despite their status as Northern League Division Two title favourites.

The Mariners go into the campaign on the back of a five-match unbeaten run in pre-season, which also included four victories over Division One sides and a draw against Blyth Spartans.

There is no point doing well in pre-season if you can’t take that into the league season

Jon King

Shields have significantly enhanced their squad in the off-season, and are further buoyed by their return to Mariners Park after a two-year exile in Peterlee.

Twice in pre-season, home crowds were around the 500 mark, with another of 400, and there seems to be a great deal of optimism around the club.

However, King has warned against complacency ahead of tomorrow’s opener against Northallerton Town at Mariners Park.

The Shields manager said: “This game is what we have been building towards.

“We were delighted with how well we did in the friendlies, but it was only pre-season. There is no point doing well in pre-season if you don’t take that into the league season. We won’t be taking anyone lightly at all, and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Shields start their promotion bid with four consecutive home games, with Billingham Town to visit Mariners Park on Tuesday.

King sees it as an ideal chance for his side to ‘lay down a marker’.

He added: “Four home games is a chance to lay down a marker to the rest of the league. We’ll take it a game at a time, though, and we’re not looking beyond the Northallerton game at the moment.

“Our first-team coach Mark Scott watched them in their friendly with North Shields, so we got an in-depth report of them, and we know we can’t take anything for granted.”

Shields go into tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off at Mariners Park without Stephen Ramsey (suspended), Paul Kane (suspended), Phil Gray (holiday), Lee Maitland (work) and Jonny Wightman (cricket commitments).

There are also doubts over Daryll Hall (international clearance), Adam Curry (knee), Warren Byrne (illness), Wayne Phillips (groin) and Adam Sakr (ankle).

Admission prices are £5 for adults and £3 for concessions, while children go free. Season tickets can be bought by calling 0191 537 2633.