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Isuzu FA Trophy Match Preview: Stalybridge Celtic vs South Shields

South Shields travel to the North West to face Stalybridge Celtic as they get their Isuzu FA Trophy campaign underway on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners are aiming to return to winning ways after their unbeaten start to the season was ended in agonising circumstances on Tuesday, with two late FC United goals condemning them to a 2-1 defeat.

This third qualifying round tie pits Shields against a Stalybridge side they overcame 2-0 on the opening day of the Pitching In Northern Premier League season.

Stalybridge are 17th in the table, having picked up 11 points from 12 games, and have lost their last five league matches, most recently 2-1 at Radcliffe on Tuesday.

The teams’ last meeting at Bower Fold was last August, with Shields emerging 3-1 winners on an entertaining night as Darius Osei, Blair Adams and Ntumba Massanka got on the scoresheet. Osei has had two spells with Celtic.

Manager’s views

It is a match which could give Shields manager Kevin Phillips an opportunity to shuffle the pack ahead of the Mariners’ high-profile Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Scunthorpe United a week on Saturday.

However, Phillips insists motivation will not be lacking for his side at Bower Fold.

He said: “We’re looking forward to Saturday and although it might be an opportunity to rest some of the older players and give them a good rest, we really want to win the game.

“It gives us a chance to get minutes into some of the players who haven’t had many, and get them up to the levels we’d like them to be at.

“Tuesday was a big learning curve for everyone and we were hugely disappointed after the game, but we have to move on quickly and get back on another positive run.”

Team news

Shields remain without JJ Hooper and have a doubt over Josh Doherty, who missed the trip to FC United.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at Bower Fold – which has a post code of SK15 2RT – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £8 for concessions and free for under-16s with a paying adult.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here.

If the match is level after 90 minutes, the tie will be decided by a penalty shootout.

Updates will be posted on the club’s Twitter feed throughout the game.

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