South Shields will look to take a major step towards safety with victory over second bottom Blyth tomorrow.
Shields are still licking their wounds after a narrow last-minute 27-25 defeat last weekend when Darlington kicked a penalty to secure the points.
However, Shields know they must secure victory this weekend at all costs to banish any thoughts of the club making an instant return to DN3.
Blyth are currently seven points and one place below Shields and head coach Stu Robson knows victory tomorrow will puts his side in a fantastic position going into the final month of the season.
He said: “Tomorrow is our cup final as well as Blyth’s. We know if we win, it will put us in the driving seat to stay up.
“However, victory for Blyth can really hit us hard and piles huge pressure on us.”
Robson added: “We are travelling with a strong squad, a squad I feel is capable of doing the job.
“Despite last week’s loss, the lads are putting that behind them and are now focusing on getting these valuable points.
“This is the biggest game for the club this year. Nothing short of a win is acceptable.”
The club will be without the influential James Pocklington, who begins his NCL season with Gateshead Storm, while Dan McKay is ruled out for a minimum of two weeks with a muscle tear suffered in the closing stages of last week’s game.
The welcome return of second row pairing Steven Richardson and Louis Kellett couldn’t come at a better time, while Daniel Whitelaw is also included.
Clayton Fox will be fit to captain the side, while Matt Bengston is ruled out with a shoulder injury. Alex Wylie returns in place of Bengston.
Kristian Summerside could also be called up from the seconds to replace Kris Scott. Kick off at Blyth’s Plessey Road (NE24 3LE) is set for 3pm.
South Shields Mariners host Houghton Boars tomorrow. The Seconds game will be played at Grosvenor Road, South Tyneside College, and is set for a 3pm kick off.