Ex-Sunderland legend has strong message for promotion-chasing South Shields squad

Kevin Phillips says South Shields go into Saturday’s match at Gainsborough Trinity full of confidence as they bid to increase the pressure on leaders Buxton

By Reporter
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 3:19 pm

Second-placed Shields are two points off the top with five games remaining in the Northern Premier League.

They head to Gainsborough having won their last two, and are now looking to arrest a run of away form which has left them winless in seven matches on the road.

Last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over in-form Stafford Rangers saw them keep pace with Buxton and move six points clear of third-placed Matlock Town.

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South Shields players celebrate a goal. Picture by Kev Wilson.

Manager Phillips is hoping to use that performance as a springboard to improve the Mariners’ results on their travels.

He said: “We were absolutely delighted with the result last week against a Stafford team which had the best away record in the league.

“We’ve had plenty of rest and now it’s another away game.

“I don’t need to highlight the importance of it.

“Our away record hasn’t been particularly great of late, but we’re going into the game full of confidence and looking to pick up three points.”

Gainsborough are battling against relegation and sit 18th in the table following a 1-0 defeat at Hyde United last weekend.

Shields won the reverse fixture 3-1 in November, but Phillips is expecting to come up against a team fighting for their lives in Lincolnshire.

He added: “No team gives you an easy game, but especially one that is battling to avoid relegation.

“They’ll be hugely determined to get a positive result but so are we, so it makes for an entertaining afternoon.

“Thankfully we’ve got a strong squad to choose from, but I’m going to have to utilise the subs at this stage of the season because players are picking up knocks.”

Shields are without Callum Ross, who will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery, and Mitch Rose is a doubt. Sam Hodgson is expected to be available after missing the Stafford match.

Kick-off at The Martin & Co Arena - which has a postcode of DN21 2QW - is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and free for under-16s.