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Match Preview: South Shields vs Bishop Auckland

South Shields begin their involvement in this season's Emirates FA Cup when they take on Bishop Auckland at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The clubs will meet for the first time since 2017 in the second qualifying round tie, with three divisions separating them heading into the clash.

Both are in fine form in their respective divisions, with Shields third in Vanarama National League North and Bishops still unbeaten in all competitions.

Chris Hardy's side are second in Northern League Division One as they attempt to battle for promotion in 2023-24, and defeated rivals Bishop Auckland in a replay to claim their place in this stage of the competition.

Julio's thoughts

Shields manager Julio Arca is aware of the threat posed by the Two Blues, and insists mindset will be key for his team.

He said: "Being favourites to win a match sometimes leads people into a trap of thinking you are going to win without having to do much, but you have to present problems to the opposition if you are going to get the result you want.

“It has been more difficult to analyse Bishop Auckland than other opponents because there isn’t as much footage available, but we’ve had reports on them and know they’re a team which usually tries to play some good football.

“They’re also on an excellent run of form, and we’re going to respect them.

“No match is easy, so our mindset is vitally important and we have to approach the game in the same way we do league games.

“If we do the right things, we will have a very good chance of winning, but we can’t allow our levels to drop.”

Shields reached the first round of last season’s competition before beating beaten in front of the BBC cameras by Forest Green Rovers.

Arca has his sights set on another run in the competition, and may opt for some fresh legs to give his team the best possible chance of progression.

He added: “We may need to change the team a little bit, because we have a lot of players who haven’t had a lot of minutes over recent weeks.

“It may also provide us with an opportunity to involve some younger players, but we will be selecting the team which we feel gives us the best possible chance of getting through to the next round.”

Team news

Shields are expected to be without midfielder Robert Briggs, who was forced off in the first half of last week's win over Rushall Olympic.

Forward Luke James is also set to miss out as he continues his recovery from a groin injury.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12.30pm.

Ticket prices are £10 for adults, £7 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s. Supporters can pay for entry by cash or card at the turnstiles, or purchase a ticket in advance by clicking here.

There is no segregation in place at this fixture.

Should the tie be level after 90 minutes, it will go to a replay at Bishop Auckland's Heritage Park on a date to be confirmed.

The winners will find out their third qualifying round opponents when the draw is released by The FA on Monday.

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