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Elliott Dickman provides update ahead of Blyth trip


Elliott Dickman has stressed the importance of togetherness after taking interim charge of South Shields.


Dickman will lead the team into Saturday’s Vanarama National League North match against Blyth Spartans following the departures of Julio Arca and Tommy Miller.


He will be assisted by Lee Picton, the club’s sporting director, along with goalkeeping coach Phil Naisbett and head of medical and physiotherapy Andrew Morris.


Dickman has taken charge of training since the Mariners’ Boxing Day defeat against Blyth, and has praised the response of the squad.


He said: “We’ve had some good conversations with the group, collectively and individually.


“The conversations have been productive and hopefully that will help us to improve and get the team back to the level it was at earlier in the season.


“The group is very talented. There are some really good players here and it has been a difficult time in terms of results.


“We need to try to help build confidence within the group and from what we’ve seen in training, they’re definitely responding positively.”


Dickman has been with the club since July, when he was appointed as 16-19s Academy manager.


He previously had a 23-year coaching stint at Sunderland, where he progressed from Academy coach to assistant Academy manager and Under-23s head coach, and was Newcastle United’s Under-23s lead player development coach between October 2021 and January 2023.


He is determined to develop the group of players positively for as long as he holds his new position.


Dickman added: “The important thing from my perspective is that it’s not about me. It’s about all of us as a group.


“I’m a firm believer in the importance of being a team, and when I talk about team I mean all of the staff at the club and the players, together.


“We all need to stick together, help each other out and have each other’s backs.


“If that’s short-term, as long as we see a positive reaction to the messages we are giving them, that will be pleasing from my point of view. If it’s a bit longer-term, it will take a little bit of time to cement the messages we want to get across.


“As a team, we have had a very productive and positive couple of days, and the players have reacted well.


“We just need to make sure we continue to develop and improve that way.”


Shields will now aim to return to winning ways following a run of four straight defeats.


Their first opportunity to do that comes against Blyth at Croft Park on Saturday.


Dickman said: “It’s about what we do and how we react to how the performance was on Boxing Day.


“It’s really important we show what we’re about and what our identity is as a club.


“We know we need to react positively and ensure we’re as prepared as usual.


“It’s such a quick turnaround between the two games and we know what Blyth are like, but from our point of view we have to make sure we have a really positive reaction to the performance on Boxing Day and focus on what we can to do put right what went wrong.”

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