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Durham Challenge Cup Match Preview: South Shields vs Washington

South Shields welcome Washington to 1st Cloud Arena on Tuesday in the first round of the Durham Challenge Cup (7.30pm kick-off).

It is the Mariners’ first involvement in the competition this season, and they are up against Northern League Division Two opponents.

Washington have had a difficult start to the season and sit 20th in the table, although they secured a crucial 1-0 win over Chester-le-Street Town in their most recent fixture on Saturday.

Manager’s views

Manager Kevin Phillips is set to make a number of changes to his squad for the cup tie.

Shields are preparing for a huge FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Scunthorpe United on Saturday, and much of their squad will not be risked on Tuesday.

Phillips, though, insists whoever is selected will be sent out to perform with the firm intention of qualifying for the next round.

He said: “Given the amount of fixtures we have coming up in such a short period, there will be further changes to our team for this game.

“It may provide us with a chance to give some of our brightest Academy prospects a first-team opportunity, but whichever side we select will be one we feel can win the game.

“Everyone knows that the league is our priority this season, and we also have a huge game ahead of us this weekend in the FA Cup, which I have one eye on.

“A few players have picked up knocks over recent weeks and I certainly don’t want us to sustain any more on Tuesday, so we have to be careful while looking to continue the positive momentum generated on Saturday against Stalybridge Celtic.”

Phillips is impressed with the talent he has at his disposal.

He added: “I would have no hesitation in turning to some of our Academy players, as they have demonstrated numerous times already this season just how capable and talented they are.

“This will provide a good opportunity for myself and the supporters to see some of them in a first-team environment, which should be an invaluable experience for the players.

“We are determined to win the game because it doesn’t matter what cup competition it is, you enter to try to win it.

“The players who are selected will have a great opportunity to experience playing on a fantastic pitch in front of our supporters, who have been fantastic so far this season.”

Team news

The squad for the match is as follows (no particular order): Callum Dobson, Cam Anderson, Jack Bodenham, Josh Doherty, Joe Errington, Jordan Hunter, Jack Watson, Albe Fletcher, Lewis Lukeman, George McArthur, James McGeorge, Will McGowan, Callum Ross, Joao Gomes, Sam Hodgson, Darius Osei.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 7.30pm and the turnstiles will open at 5.30pm.

There are no tickets available in advance for this game. Instead, it’s entirely pay at the turnstiles at a price of £5 for adults, £3 for over-65s, students and disabled supporters, and £2 for under-16s. Cash is accepted at turnstile 2, and the other turnstiles are card only.

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