This is why South Shields are relishing their underdog status - for a change

South Shields are relishing being the underdogs for a change when they host Southport tomorrow in the FA Trophy.

South Shields.
South Shields.

The Mariners go into the first round clash knowing they will have to be at their best to match their opponents who are riding high in the Conference North.

Shields took confidence from their last outing when they drew 1-1 with title rivals Warrington despite playing more than half the game with 10 men after Nathan Lowe's red card.

And skipper Jon Shaw believes they can expect a similar game when Southport travel to Mariners Park.

He said: "I don't think it will be too dissimilar to the Warrington game. I know Paul Carden the Warrington manager was a big part of Southport's recent history, and I know the level and know the kind of football they will play.

"We have to take a lot of confidence from what we've done.

"Of course we have to be wary of a team from a higher division but we've shown in the past we can step up and play at that level and against those teams so we go into it confident that we can get the right result."

Southport sit fourth in the Conference North table and head into the game as favourites.

Shields manager Graham Fenton believes that the pressure is off his side and has described the game as a 'free hit' for his players.

And he has called on the fans to turn out in force and provide the same sort of atmosphere which drove his players on with 10 men last weekend.

"It's a free hit for us," said Fenton. "It's the old adage of the underdogs.

"They will be a good side, they won't be up at the top of the league in a division above us without being a decent side, but we're a good side as well.

"It will be a great game and we're hoping for a bumper crowd to help us along the way.

"If anyone can come down and offer their support it would be welcome."