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Match Preview: South Shields vs Banbury United

South Shields welcome Banbury United to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday in their latest Vanarama National League North challenge (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners will be looking to maintain their 100% home record in the competition, having beaten Alfreton Town, Scarborough Athletic and Gloucester City so far.

They head into this fixture sitting sixth in the table, having collected 11 points from their opening six matches. Shields were most recently in action on Monday, when a stoppage time equaliser sealed a 2-2 draw with Darlington.

Banbury, meanwhile, are 19th, having won two, drawn one and lost three of their games.

Julio's thoughts

Shields manager Julio Arca insists the league table is irrelevant at this point.

He said: "We are expecting a difficult game, despite Banbury’s current position in the table.

“Darlington were near the bottom heading into the match on Monday and they put a good performance in, so that shows the league table means very little at this stage.

“Teams are still trying to find their shape, and it will probably take 10 to 15 games to see each side at their strongest.

“Regardless of who we are playing and where they are in the table, we expect a tough challenge each week and it ultimately depends on what we do.

“The target for us is to start strongly and concentrate well with discipline and organisation. If we do that, we should be able to play the football we like to play.”

Shields will follow up Saturday’s game with a trip to leaders Scunthorpe United on Tuesday.

Arca added: “We are happy with the amount of points we have on the board so far, although there is that nagging feeling we could have had even more.

“It’s all part of a learning process but the lads are feeling confident, which is clear for us to see.

“We are approaching every game with a winning mentality, because we believe in our players and they believe in themselves.”

Team news

Arca is hoping to have a full-strength squad to choose from at 1st Cloud Arena.

Information for supporters

Kick-off is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12.30pm.

Tickets are available to purchase until 12pm on Saturday by clicking here, with online tickets priced at £14 for adults, £9 for students and over-65s, £5 for children aged 13 to 16 and £3 for children aged 12 and under. There is an additional £2 charge to sit.

Tickets are available to purchase at the turnstiles on matchday, when standing prices will increase to £15 for adults and £10 for students and over-65s. Cash and card will be accepted.

There is no segregation in place for this fixture.

Ahead of the game, the Championship match between Sunderland and Southampton will be shown in the bars, and afterwards, the Premier League fixture between Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United will be screened.

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