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NPL Match Preview: Morpeth Town vs South Shields

South Shields begin 2023 with a North East battle against Morpeth Town at Craik Park on Monday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners' shortest league trip of the season will see them aim to do the double over their opponents, having triumped 1-0 in the reverse fixture at 1st Cloud Arena in August.

They head to Northumberland in fine form, with five wins in their last seven games having seen Kevin Phillips' side establish a three-point lead at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

Morpeth, meanwhile, are winless in their last eight matches and have lost their last five, leaving them 17th, but won this fixture 1-0 last season and boast players capable of hurting any side in the division.

Manager's views

Shields manager Phillips is adamant his team will not take Morpeth lightly, with the nature of the match rendering form largely irrelevant.

He said: “It may be a cliché, but I think form goes out of the window in derby matches.

“We’re in a good place and playing well, but it’s a local derby and I’ve been involved in many of them in my career.

“If you don’t turn up and don’t fight and win your battles, you can come unstuck, wherever your opponent is in the league.

“We’ll be up for it and have got enough experience in the squad to deal with a derby, so it’s a game we’re really looking forward to.

“We’re going there confident we can get a result.”

Phillips believes Shields' supporters could be heavily influential on Monday.

He added: "The fans will come in their droves to Morpeth and get behind the team, but as I’ve repeatedly said, it’s not always going to be pretty.

“When the game is in a bit of a lull, that’s when we need the supporters to sing and get behind the players, and they certainly do that.

“We’ve given them a lot to cheer about so far this season, and hopefully there’s a lot more to come in the remainder of the campaign.”

Team news

Shields are hoping to have a full-strength squad to select from, barring Conor Newton, who continues to spend time away from the club.

No fresh injury concerns have been reported.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at Craik Park - which has a post code of NE61 2YX - is at 3pm.

Admission prices are £12 for adults, £8 for concessions, £4 for under-16s and free for under-fives.

Supporters can pay for admission by cash only at the turnstiles or purchase a ticket in advance by clicking here.

Those 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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