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Emirates FA Cup Match Preview: South Shields vs Forest Green Rovers

South Shields face one of the biggest games in their history when they take on Forest Green Rovers in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup in front of the BBC cameras on Saturday (12pm kick-off).

The Mariners are competing at this stage of the prestigious competition for just the second time since reforming in 1974.

That occasion came at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago and took place behind closed doors at Cheltenham Town, but there will be a very different dynamic this weekend.

A record 1st Cloud Arena crowd of more than 3,500 is guaranteed and the match is being broadcast live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online.

Shields will be looking to bridge a four-division gap to overcome their opponents, who are 23rd in League One having won promotion from League Two last term.

Due to the volume of ticket sales, there will be no cash turnstiles in operation on Saturday and anyone looking to attend must purchase a ticket in advance. Tickets will be available to buy online until 9am on Saturday by clicking here, unless they sell out before that time.

Manager’s views

Kevin Phillips has urged his Mariners players to relish the occasion – and says the team believes in their ability to cause an upset.

He said: “If we play the way we know we can, we’re a match for anyone, but it’s going to be an extremely tough match against a very good side.

“They might be struggling in their league, but they’re only two divisions away from the Premier League and that says it all.

“It’s a massive ask but we believe we can cause an upset, and if we didn’t have belief there would be no point in turning up.

“We believed we were going to beat Scunthorpe and executed it, and now we have to try to do it again.” Team news

There is positive news on the injury front for Shields, with just Sam Hodgson unavailable for fitness reasons.

On-loan Will Russ is also ineligible due to being cup-tied.

Information for supporters

If the game ends level after 90 minutes, a replay will be held at Forest Green’s The New Lawn.

The turnstiles will open at 9.30am and Happy Hour pricing will apply between 9.30am and 11am, and from the final whistle until 3pm. The conclusion of the crucial T20 World Cup match between England and Sri Lanka will be shown on the TVs.

The two sets of supporters are segregated, with Forest Green fans to enter the ground through turnstiles 3 and 4.

There will be post-match entertainment in the Synergi Marquee, with karaoke from immediately after the game until 5pm.

Children attending the game can take part in a revamped matchday play park on the 3G pitch. A wristband can be purchased for £1 from the entry to the 3G pitch, allowing children access between 9.30am and 11.30am, and for an hour after the game.

With the eyes of the nation and indeed the world on 1st Cloud Arena, we ask our supporters to display everything that is good about our club and town throughout the afternoon.

The club is supportive of the ‘Love Football. Protect the Game’ campaign, which reminds fans of the dangers of pyrotechnics. The football authorities are continuing to work with the Football Supporters’ Association to warn of the serious dangers of pyrotechnics at football, with a reminder that anyone found in possession or using these devices faces club bans and will be reported to the police.

A collectors’ item match programme, packed with content, is available to purchase for £3 and also acts as a raffle ticket, with one lucky programme holder to win a football signed by the SSFC team. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.


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