South Shields are looking to take another giant step towards promotion tomorrow when they play one of the most important games in their recent history.
Shields are taking on Warrington Town in the final of the Evo-Stik Premier Division play-offs at Mariners Park.
The victorious team will not be guaranteed promotion, though, and must beat the winners of the Evo-Stik South Premier Division Central play-offs a week tomorrow to earn a place in National League North.
The Mariners are well aware of the size of their task tomorrow against a side which beat them home and away in the league campaign.
They did finish a place and three points ahead of the Yellows, though, and will take confidence into tomorrow’s tie after they came from behind to beat Buxton in a thrilling semi-final on Tuesday.
With the Durham Challenge Cup final against Shildon to contend with tonight, followed by the divisional play-off final tomorrow, joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton have rarely been so busy.
But Picton says it’s a challenge everyone involved with the Mariners is relishing.
He said: “We’re just massively excited.
“Myself and Graham have felt like we’ve been spinning a lot of plates recently.
“A lot of really good things have been going on with the academy and we’ve been travelling up and down the country with various high-profile games going on.
“At the start of the season, though, this is the position you want to be in. You want to be so busy.
“There are a lot of footballers and teams out there that are done for all the wrong reasons by the end of April.
“We’re still going and have tonnes to play for, so it’s really exciting.”
Picton is expecting Warrington to provide a stern examination of Shields’ promotion hopes.
The Yellows ended the season with the division’s best defensive record and came from behind to beat Nantwich Town 4-1 in their semi-final on Tuesday.
He added: “It’s going to be a really hard, physical test.
“Again, we’ve got to make sure that the game turns out to be the type of game that we want it to be.
“We’re at home, the surface is good and we can get the ball down and play.
“We showed again on Tuesday that when we do what we’re good at, we’re more than a match for anybody in this league.
“I thought we were unlucky not to get at least a draw against them when they came here last time around, and you’ve got to give them massive credit and respect for lots of reasons.
“Their defensive record and resilience they’ve shown at various stages of the season have been impressive, so we know it’s going to be a massive test, but it’s a test that we’re absolutely
Shields are expected to be without left-back Blair Adams after he suffered a hamstring injury during Tuesday’s win.
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.
Fans are expected to be able to pay for admission at the turnstiles, but are encouraged to buy tickets in advance to avoid the large queues experienced on Tuesday.
Tickets can be bought from Mariners Park between 12pm and 5pm today, or online from Shields’ website until midnight tonight.