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NPL Match Preview: Bamber Bridge vs South Shields

South Shields face another vital match in the battle for promotion when they travel to Bamber Bridge on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners hold a 12-point advantage over second-placed Warrington and third-placed Bamber Bridge, who both have a game in hand on Kevin Phillips' side.

Bamber Bridge are among the Pitching In Northern Premier League's form sides, having won five of their last six matches, and each of the last three.

Shields will take confidence with them to Lancashire, though, having triumphed 1-0 at Hyde United in their last fixture on the road.

The reverse meeting between the sides resulted in a 5-0 victory for the Mariners at 1st Cloud Arena in November.

Manager's thoughts

Shields manager Phillips has backed his players to thrive on the pressure of the situation as they bid to strengthen their promotion hand.

He said: “When you get to this stage of the season, no matter what we try to do to calm them down, it’s human nature there’s going to be nerves.

“It’s pressure and that’s to be expected at this stage of the season.

“In recent games we could have been better going forward, but we just need to calm down and trust ourselves, and keep doing the things which get us success.

“I don’t like to harp on about my career, but I won five promotions out of the Championship as a player and I know that this stage of the season is nervy.

“These lads know how much it means to this club and them as individuals to get out of this league, but they just need to trust in their ability because we’ve earned a tremendous position in the table over the season so far.”

This is Shields’ third successive meeting with a promotion rival after winning 1-0 at Hyde and drawing 0-0 with Radcliffe.

Phillips added: “If you’re going to win the league, that’s the way you want to do it.

“There’s pressure on us because of where we are, but ultimately if they want to have a real run at us, they’ve got to win the match.

“They’re the home team and the onus is on them, so we have to be disciplined as we were at Hyde and take our chances.

“As we did at Hyde, we’re going there to try to win the game, so we will be on the front foot and ready to go.

“I’m sure it will be a good game and I know their manager quite well, so I’m looking forward to locking horns with him.”

Team news

Shields have defender Dillon Morse back in contention after a knee injury, but Blair Adams (calf) is a doubt and Michael Woods (knee) is expected to miss out.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium – which has a post code of PR5 6UX – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £8 for concessions, £2 for accompanied under-16s and free for accompanied under-11s.

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

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