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Match Preview: South Shields v Brackley Town

South Shields Welcome Brackley Town in the Vanarama National League North.

Shields return to action at the First Cloud Arena this Saturday as Brackley Town make the trip up north.

This comes after last week’s result in which Shields lost 3-1 away to Kings Lynn.

The Linnets best player on the day, Jonny Margetts, got the best of the backline on 2 occasions before the half.

Paul Blackett pulled one back early on in the second half, bringing some hope back to the supporters before Quevin Castro put the game out of reach with a goal in the 93rd minute.

This result has left Shields in 12th place, just one point ahead of Spennymoor Town in 13th.

The Mariners have played 36 of the 46 league games this season leaving just 10 games to go for the 23/24 campaign.

Plenty of points are still up for grabs however and the league table could shift dramatically in the remaining games.

This makes the remaining games of the campaign all that more important and that is definitely the case with Saturday’s fixture.

Brackley Town currently find themselves in the playoff race in 5th place on 60 points 7 more than South Shields.

In their last 5 fixtures they have won twice and drew 2 games, their last loss came against Kings Lynn Town on the 20th of February when they suffered the same fate as Shields and lost 3-1.

The last outing between the two sides ended 1-1 back in August when Julio Arca was still at the helm.

Martin Smith salvaged a point with his effort in the 70th minute after Danny Newton put the hosts in the lead in the 27th minute.

The main attacking threat from Brackley Town comes from the previously mentioned Danny Newton, he has 14 goals in 36 league games this season. Newton has significant experience in the football league and is a high-level player.

Elliott's Thoughts

Elliott Dickman was asked how he felt the debut season in the National League North had gone so far.

He expressed how he felt as though it had been a good start to life in the 6th tier but also stressed that they could still push for a playoff spot.

“The season has been positive and has set a good standard but we can’t forget that there are still 10 games to play and we have just as good of a chance of getting out of his division as anyone else.”

When asked if he fancied his teams’ chances at the weekend, he reiterated the same attitude that he has had during his time at the helm.

"Like any game it won’t be easy but if we stick to how we know we can play and work well as a team, I don’t see why we can’t get all 3 points.”

Paul Blackett scored again at the weekend putting his total up to 22 for the season.

This puts him 6 goals above the second highest scorer in the league (Danny Waldron).

All of his success in front of net will in no doubt attract attention during the summer.

Dickman is in no way oblivious to this and said: “Obviously, Paul is a natural goal scorer and teams will be aware of that but in my eyes, he is our player and until otherwise he will be our player.”

Team News

Robert Briggs can now play after he served his suspension against Kings Lynn Town.

Tom Broadbent could be doubtful, picking up an injury against King's Lynn.

Gary Liddle and Luke James have departed the club, as a free agent and on loan to Blyth Spartans respectively.

Information for Supporters

Kick-off at the 1st Cloud Arena (NE32 3UP) is at 3pm Saturday the 9th of March 2024.

Admission prices are £14 for adults, £9 for concessions, £5 for 13–16-year-olds and £3 for 12 and under. – (including online discounts.)

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