South Shields welcome Scunthorpe United to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday for a huge Emirates FA Cup tie, with a first round place at stake (3pm kick-off).
The Mariners will be looking to bridge a two-division gap when they take on their National League opponents, who spent 72 years in the Football League before being relegated last season.
A big crowd is expected for the first meeting between the clubs since 1971, when Shields triumphed 3-2 in a replay after the original FA Cup first round tie ended in a 3-3 draw.
Scunthorpe have endured a difficult start in the National League and sit 23rd in what is an extremely competitive division, although they are on an unbeaten six-match run under interim manager Tony Daws.
Goals have not been difficult to come by, with the Iron netting 19 times in their 13 league fixtures, which is the most among the bottom nine clubs in the table.
It is sure to be a hard-fought encounter at 1st Cloud Arena.
Kevin Phillips reached the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup as a player with West Bromwich Albion, but this season is his first taste of the competition as a manager.
The Shields boss feels his players can go into Saturday’s fourth qualifying round tie with the pressure off.
However, he has full faith in his side’s ability to pull off an upset.
Phillips said: “We have good quality in our squad and lots of experience of league football, so it won’t faze them to come up against National League players and play in front of a crowd we’re hoping is going to be bumper.
“The biggest thing for me is that we have no pressure on us and can treat this game as a free hit, which we can’t say very often.
“We want the players to relax and enjoy it, because the FA Cup is a magical competition.
“I’ve experienced the highs and lows of it, and I want my players to be able to experience what it can do as well.”
Scunthorpe were in the Championship just 11 years ago, and Phillips has warned that they deserve plenty of respect, despite their difficult start to the campaign.
He added: “Scunthorpe are a good footballing side.
“They have struggled a bit in the National League so far and their results haven’t been as they would have liked, but they have some quality players with experience of playing at higher levels.
“We respect them and have to be ready to face a good team, but we’ve dealt with most challenges we’ve been faced with very well so far this season and we feel we can give Scunthorpe a real match.”
Shields have injury doubts over a number of players heading into Saturday’s 3pm kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena.
Among them are Jordan Hunter and Sam Hodgson, who suffered knocks in Tuesday’s Durham Challenge Cup victory over Washington
Information for supporters
Should the game be level after 90 minutes, the tie will go to a replay at Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park. The club’s league fixture away to Liversedge on Tuesday would also be postponed in that instance.
Although this match is not all-ticket, supporters are advised to purchase tickets in advance to help ease queuing on matchday. Home end tickets can be purchased until 12pm on Saturday by clicking here.
Ticket prices are £12 for adults, £9 for students, over-65s and disabled fans, and £5 for under-16s. There is an additional £2 charge to sit, but seats must be purchased in advance.
The turnstiles will open at 12.30pm and the two sets of supporters will be segregated, with Scunthorpe fans to enter the ground through turnstiles 3 and 4. Any away supporters found to be in the home end, or home fans in the away section, will be ejected from the ground.
Supporters paying for entry at the turnstiles can do so by card at any turnstile, with turnstile 2 the only gate to accept cash payments.
Happy hour pricing will apply in all bars between 12.30pm and 2pm, and from the final whistle until 6pm.
A 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 hospitality package for two at a future league game, as donated by an SSFC shareholder. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.