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NPL Match Preview: Atherton Collieries vs South Shields

South Shields are back in Pitching In Northern Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to Atherton Collieries (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners have not played since their trip to Guiseley a fortnight ago, with the fixture against FC United of Manchester having fallen victim to the cold weather.

Shields were replaced at the top of the table by Hyde United on goal difference as a result of their period without a game, but have four matches in hand on the leaders and are aware of the importance of maximum points.

The reverse fixture against Brad Cooke's Atherton was in September and ended in a 0-0 draw. The Colls are 15th in the table.

Manager's views

Shields manager Kevin Phillips is expecting a difficult challenge at the Skuna Stadium.

He said: “We’re looking forward to the game, especially after not playing over the last two weeks because of the postponements.

“The conditions are likely to be slightly different to what we’re used to at 1st Cloud Arena in terms of the pitch, so we might need to adapt and play a different style of football.

“We’re not expecting a footballing contest, playing through the lines with silky football, because the conditions aren’t likely to allow it.

“It will probably be more of a physical challenge than we’re used to, but we’ve got to deal with that and have shown this season that we’re capable of it.

“I know Atherton's manager really well and he has a decent squad.

“They had a good result in the cup in the week, so will be full of confidence and we need to be wary of that."

Team news

Midfielder Ade Shokunbi could make his debut for the Mariners in Saturday’s game.

Shields are hoping to have a full-strength squad to choose from, with Michael Woods having had a full week of training after recovering from an eye operation.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at the Skuna Stadium - which has a post code of M46 9EY - is at 3pm.

Admission prices are £10 for adults, £6 for concessions, £4 for under-18s and free for under-11s with an accompanying adult. This is payable by cash.

Supporters who are unable to make it to the game can listen to live commentary on the Mariners Live Mixlr channel by clicking here.

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