Dressing room view as South Shields target FA Trophy progression

Midfielder Nathan Lowe has told of the determination in the South Shields dressing room to progress in the FA Trophy tonight.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 3:59 pm
South Shields midfielder Nathan Lowe. Picture by Kev Wilson.

The Mariners face a trip to Stalybridge Celtic after the first qualifying round tie was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch on Saturday.

They won 2-0 at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion last time out, but the BetVictor Northern Premier Division leaders are winless in their last two league games.

Their most recent league outing saw them held to a 1-1 draw by Grantham Town last Saturday, with Lowe's first goal of the season not enough to see Shields claim maximum points.

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As they prepare for what is expected to be a stern test of their credentials tonight, Lowe insists the motivation in the Shields camp could not be higher.

He said: "We came into the dressing room at the end of the Grantham game feeling like we'd been defeated, because we knew we had dropped points.

"We should have come away with the win but we've had to dust ourselves down since then and train hard, because we want to bounce back.

"We know that the last couple of league games haven't been good enough and as a team we need to knuckle down now.

"We have to work hard and put things right.

"All the lads are working hard, all the staff are and we're going to bounce back and put it right."

Lowe is battling to be fit for tonight's game after being forced off in the second half of the Grantham draw with an ankle injury.

Captain Jon Shaw is also expected to be available after recovering from a calf injury, but Josh Gillies remains out as he waits for a hernia operation.

Gillies is due to undergo the procedure next week and is due to be out for six weeks from that point.

Ahead of tonight's match, Lowe has praised the Shields fans set to make the journey to Stalybridge - based in Greater Manchester - at such short notice.

He added: "I don't think the supporters realise how much of an impact they have on us.

"They're the best fans I've ever played in front of.

"It's brilliant to play in front of them every week, home and away, and they're making a massive effort to support us tonight.

"This game is vital for us and we're determined to bounce back.

"Hopefully my ankle will be OK and I'm fit for selection because I'm hungry to put it right, as I know all the lads and staff are."

Shields and Stalybridge met at Mariners Park earlier this month in the league, with a stoppage time penalty from Robert Briggs sealing a dramatic 2-1 victory for the Mariners.

Stalybridge won 2-1 at Warrington Town last week to further underline their credentials, and currently sit 11th in the BetVictor Northern Premier Division.

Kick-off at Bower Fold - which has a post code of SK15 2RT - is at 7.45pm.