Ex-Sunderland defender reveals why he wanted to join South Shields as he outlines promotion hope

New signing Jordan Hunter says there is ‘extra motivation’ within the South Shields squad to win promotion this year after having their hopes dashed last season.
Jordan Hunter.Jordan Hunter.
Jordan Hunter.

The former Sunderland defender joined the Mariners on an initial one-month loan deal last August and quickly established himself as a key player in Graham Fenton and Lee Picton’s plans.

After becoming a regular feature in the Mariners line-up as they battled for promotion at the top of the Northern Premier League, Hunter’s temporary stay with the club was extended to the end of the season.

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He repaired the Mariners managerial team for their faith by producing a level of consistency that helped their side move 12 points clear at the top of the table before the coronavirus epidemic curtailed the season and Hunter’s time on South Tyneside.

However, the Garstang-born full-back will return to South Shields for the new season after he rejected a one-year deal at Sunderland in favour of a longer stay with the Mariners.

After putting pen-to-paper on a three-year contract, he explained that his introduction into life at the club played a key role in persuading him to make a more permanent move this summer.

“It wasn’t what I expected it to be, but then again, I didn’t really know what to expect,” he told the Gazette.

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“Coming from a League One academy into a non-league club, you always hope that you are going to fit in.

“I had never really done that before, but I felt I had to prove myself and get the respect of the more experienced players in the dressing room.

“I thought that would make it easier to settle in with the club and I think I grew in confidence throughout the season.

“Knowing the lads in the way I do now, and how they are as a group, was one of the major factors in coming back on a permanent deal,” he added.

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Hunter has now set his sights on helping his new club challenge for a fourth promotion in six seasons as they look to take another step towards their target of reaching the Football League.

The Mariners would move within two promotions of securing a League Two place and Hunter insisted that his side has “extra motivation” after suffering disappointment over the last two seasons.

He is under no illusions it will be difficult but he is confident heading into the new campaign.

He said: “I think there is extra motivation to get promoted this season.

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“I wasn’t here at the time, but obviously there was the play-off defeat in the season before last.

“And last year, nobody deserved to win the league more than us, nobody.

“A lot of people have said it will be tough in the league this year, and that looks to be right.

“But we are confident in our ability and we believe we will be right up there,” he added.

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