Pre-season silverware up for grabs as South Shields face Blyth Spartans
Pre-season silverware is up for grabs when South Shields travel to neighbours Blyth Spartans for a friendly match full of intrigue on Saturday.
Croft Park will play host to the inaugural CEFO CFS Challenge Trophy tie between two sides which are heading into the season with plenty of optimism.
Shields have won all four of their friendly games to date, with Blyth also boasting a 100% record courtesy of victories over Middlesbrough’s Under-23s and North Shields.
It could be argued that both teams are facing their strongest test of the summer so far this weekend as they step up their preparations for the league campaign.
The Mariners are readying themselves for a bid for promotion from the Northern Premier League while Blyth are in the National League North – one tier higher than their visitors – and looking to make their mark after significantly strengthening their squad.
Shields manager Graham Fenton spent time with Spartans as a player and coach, and believes Michael Nelson’s men will provide his side with a valuable test.
He is looking for the Mariners to step up following Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Consett, when they created a host of opportunities but had just one Darius Osei goal to show for it.
Fenton said: “Blyth is always a tough place to go, so we’re looking forward to it.
“I was there for a long time myself so it will be good to see some familiar faces from a few years ago.
“They’ve made some good signings over the summer so it will be another step up for us.
“If we’re going to win that game we’ll have to be more clinical than we were on Tuesday.”
Both clubs recently announced partnerships with CFS and CEFO Group, signalling the group of companies’ tremendous and continued commitment to supporting non-league football in the North East.
The CFS logo is featuring on all South Shields first-team and replica shirts this season as part of an exciting link-up between the club and CEFO Group, which is also Blyth’s main sponsor.
Kick-off at Croft Park is at 3pm and admission prices are £8 for adults, £5 for over-65s and £3 for under-16s.
Supporters are strongly advised to purchase tickets in advance from Blyth’s website.