Sunderland legend's South Shields squad facing a defining weekend in promotion battle

South Shields face a potentially defining weekend in their battle for promotion as they take on the challenge of two games in three days.

By Reporter
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 2:18 pm
South Shields boss Kevin Phillips. Picture: Kevin Wilson.
South Shields boss Kevin Phillips. Picture: Kevin Wilson.

The Mariners travel to FC United of Manchester on Saturday before hosting Whitby Town two days later in the Northern Premier League.

Kevin Phillips’ side are two points behind leaders Buxton heading into the final three matches of the league season and are looking to leapfrog the Derbyshire outfit into the one automatic promotion spot.

Buxton, meanwhile, have a weekend double-header against Mickleover and Matlock Town, with the title race set to look a lot clearer come Monday evening.

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Shields’ sole focus for now is on their meeting with FC United, who need a victory to keep their play-off hopes alive.

The Mariners have not won on the road since Phillips’ first game in charge, away to Warrington Town in January, and a victory in Manchester is imperative if they are to maintain their bid for their championship.

Phillips said: “I don’t need to tell anyone that our away form needs to improve, but the players are full of confidence after last weekend’s win over Stalybridge Celtic and hopefully they will step up to the plate again with a really good performance.

“It will be a tough game, as every match in this league is, but we go into it confident of getting a positive result.

“We certainly won’t win if we don’t believe in ourselves, so that will be key.

“I’m aware that quite a lot of our supporters are also going to the game so there should be a great atmosphere, and we’re looking forward to it.

“If I was a player preparing for this game I’d be buzzing with excitement.”

Shields expect to have Blair Adams and Jordan Hunter available after they were substituted in last Saturday’s 4-0 win over Stalybridge Celtic as a precaution.

They remain without Callum Ross, who will miss the rest of the season as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

Kick-off at Broadhurst Park – which has a post code of M40 0FJ – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £7 for over-60s, students and those in receipt of Income Support or Universal Credit, £3 for under-18s and free for under-fives with a paying adult.

The two sets of supporters will be segregated, with Shields fans asked to enter the ground through turnstiles nine to 12.