South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton keen to wrap up title ... tonight

South Shields have been challenged to finish the job in style as they bid to wrap up a third consecutive league championship tonight.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 10:33 am
South Shields' players and staff show their appreciation for the fans after the game. Picture by Peter Talbot.

The Mariners – already assured of promotion from the Evo-Stik North Division – travel to Radcliffe knowing a win would give them an unassailable lead at the top with two games to spare.

Should second-placed Scarborough Athletic fail to beat Glossop North End tonight, the title will belong to Shields regardless of their result.

But joint manager Graham Fenton wants them to do the job themselves and leave nothing to chance.

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He said: “It would be a brilliant achievement to wrap up the title with two games to spare, and that’s what we really want.

“We’ll have a lot of travelling fans tonight, I’m sure, and it would be great to secure the championship in front of them.

“We know that it won’t be easy.

“Radcliffe gave us a difficult game at our place and went away with a 0-0 draw, and they’ll try to make it tough for us again.

“We just have to concentrate on ourselves and hopefully we’ll get the win we need.”

Shields won 1-0 at Skelmersdale United on Saturday to ensure they will finish in the top two.

The victory was secured on a difficult playing surface, and Fenton says the Mariners are ready for whatever await them tonight.

He added: “It will probably be similar conditions to Saturday, although we won’t know until we get there.

“When you play on difficult surfaces like we did on Saturday, you sometimes have to adapt your game.

“That’s what we did against Skelmersdale, and it was very pleasing to see the lads do that.

“You’d have struggled to get a Barcelona team trying to play flowing football on that pitch, so you have to adapt your game.

“I think the fans appreciated that, which is one of the reasons they gave us such a great ovation at the end.”

Shields have doubts over Julio Arca and Barrie Smith heading into tonight’s 7.45pm kick-off, with Anthony Callaghan still out with a back injury.

They will be back in action on Thursday when they take on Kendal Town at Mariners Park in their penultimate game of the season.