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NPL Match Preview: Gainsborough Trinity vs South Shields

The Christmas number one spot is on the line as leaders South Shields head to third-placed Gainsborough Trinity in the Pitching In Northern Premier League on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners have been out of action since a 3-3 draw with Ashton United a fortnight ago, with two fixtures having been postponed due to frozen pitches.

Information is awaited on whether Saturday's match will beat the elements, and supporters are advised to monitor the club's social media channel and website for any updates.

The teams are separated by two points, with Shields having played two fewer games than their hosts.

They met in August at 1st Cloud Arena, with a late Martin Smith strike salvaging a point for the Mariners in a 1-1 draw.

Trinity possess one of the league’s most lethal marksmen in the vastly experienced Clayton Donaldson, who has struck 14 goals so far this season.

Manager's views

Shields manager Kevin Phillips says his team are aware of the test which is coming their way on Saturday.

He said: “Again, we’re really hoping this game gets the go ahead so we can return to match action and hopefully start to generate some positive momentum.

“We’re very pleased with how the season has gone so far but we know how important the festive period can be, particularly if you’re facing the sides around you in the table.

“Gainsborough will certainly be up for it and have enjoyed an excellent start to the season, so it’s going to be a difficult one for us.

“We know what we are capable of, though, and have to focus on the things we do well as we know if we perform to our best levels, we’re an excellent team and very difficult to beat.”

Team news

Shields will be without Conor Newton, who is set for an extended spell away from the club due to personal reasons.

The break from match action means some of those who had previously been carrying injuries, including Tom Broadbent and Sam Hodgson, have had time to return to fitness.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at The Martin & Co Arena, Northolme – which has a post code of DN21 2QW – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £8 for students and those aged 65 and over, and £4 for under-16s.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here.

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

As previously stated, please watch out for updates on whether the game is to go ahead, and for information on any pitch inspections.

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