'We've got to be very wary' - Jon Shaw previews unbeaten South Shields' clash Bamber Bridge
South Shields are looking to reclaim top spot in the Northern Premier League when they travel to Bamber Bridge on Tuesday.
But Jon Shaw has warned the unbeaten Mariners that a stern test of their credentials awaits at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium against an upwardly-mobile Brig side.
Tuesday’s hosts are fifth in the table, 10 points behind second-placed Shields with a game in hand.
They have proved consistently difficult opponents for the Mariners over recent seasons and Shaw is expecting more of the same.
Shields go into the game having drawn 0-0 at Nantwich Town on Saturday, when they were without manager Graham Fenton, who is isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19.
Fenton will again be missing on Tuesday, with Shaw and fellow joint assistant manager Brian Smith set to lead the team.
Shaw knows the type of challenge Shields will face in Lancashire.
He said: “We’ve never had an easy game against Bamber Bridge and have been involved in some crazy scorelines against them.
“It’s always a great match for the neutral, but probably hasn’t been in the past for the management of the two teams because it often causes some scary moments.
“We’re looking forward to it and will be giving it everything to extend our unbeaten run and try to get top spot back.
“We’ve got to be very wary and expect a tough challenge, which is what you always get from Jamie Milligan’s teams.”
Shields were unable to break down Nantwich on Saturday, but did stretch their unbeaten start to the league campaign to 12 matches with the goalless draw.
Shaw was satisfied with much of the team’s play, but is seeking improvements as they look to return to winning ways.
He added: “We need to up our levels from Saturday and if we perform slightly better on the ball we’ll give ourselves a great chance.
“The lads’ effort levels were brilliant on Saturday and we felt we created enough chances to win, but it was just that little bit of quality that we were missing.
“Physically we’re in good nick, albeit we’re without a few bodies.
“At this stage of the season, going down there and potentially coming away with a point would probably be deemed a good result, but we don’t go into any game looking to draw. We’ll be aiming to win, as we do every game.”
Shields are without midfielder Will Jenkins, who was stretchered off early in Saturday’s game with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.
X-rays later showed Jenkins had not suffered a fracture, but he is not in contention for the match against Brig.
The Mariners will be able to call upon the services of Ntumba Massanka despite the striker receiving a red card in the closing stages at Nantwich. Massanka’s three-match suspension does not begin until Saturday’s home fixture against Basford United.
Shields have no fresh injury concerns heading into Tuesday’s 7.45pm kick-off at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Read more about South Shields FC here: ‘Callum Stead vows to 'keep on improving' after scoring first South Shields goal’