South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton reveals plans for Dunston cup tie
Promotion-chasing South Shields take a short break from league action tonight when they make the short trip to Dunston in the second round of the League Cup.
The Mariners have won their last four games in all competitions and sit three points clear at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division following Saturday's 5-2 victory over Mickleover Sports.
There is no doubt that the league is Shields' priority as they bid to seal a place in the National League North for next season.
The League Cup and Durham Challenge Cup - Shields host Stockton Town in the quarter-final of that competition next Tuesday - do carry their own importance, though.
The prospect of further silverware is an enticing one and the cups also give Graham Fenton and Lee Picton an opportunity to give action to players in need of game-time, as well as blood some of the club's talented youngsters.
Joint manager Fenton has confirmed that, as expected, changes will be made tonight.
He is expecting a difficult game against a Dunston side sitting 15th in the tier below, having won promotion as Northern League champions last season.
Fenton said: "Dunston are a good team and they always work exceptionally hard.
"They're well organised and will always provide a difficult test, but it's one we're looking forward to.
"We'll obviously make changes again.
"We have nine games in this calendar month so we'll have to rotate the squad.
"The lads who didn't play much on Saturday will get game-time, as will the young lads who missed out on the squad.
"It's a good opportunity for them."
Fenton is pleased with the depth Shields have at their disposal, with the likes of Lee Mason, Josh Gillies, Callum Ross, Will Jenkins, Sam Hodgson and Kieran Charlton expected to be among those in strong contention to start tonight.
He added: "We've spoken a lot about how many injuries we had in the run-up to Christmas.
"We're now really happy with the squad and the competition is really strong.
"This is what it needs to be.
"If you have a squad of 11, 12 or 13 players you're going to struggle because when injuries come it will hit you.
"We're lucky to have 20 plus players we can rely on at the moment and that's a really healthy spot to be in."
Shields are without injured duo Luke Daly and Ross Coombe heading into tonight's match at UTS Stadium, which kicks off at 7.45pm.