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NPL Match Preview: Nantwich Town vs South Shields

South Shields travel to Cheshire on Saturday as they take on Nantwich Town in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (3pm kick-off).


This is the first of two games in three days for the Mariners, who face Morpeth Town at 1st Cloud Arena on Monday.


They go into the double-header still unbeaten so far this season, having registered one win and three draws from their four fixtures.


Nantwich are searching for their first victory but have been beaten just once, with three draws recorded to date, including a goalless encounter with FC United of Manchester on Tuesday.


Last season’s matches between Shields and Nantwich ended in a 0-0 draw at Swansway Stadium and a 4-2 victory for the Mariners in the return fixture.


The Dabbers are under the management of Dave Cooke, who has been in charge since May 2017.


Manager’s views

Shields drew 1-1 with Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday, with Martin Smith’s superb strike from distance in stoppage time securing Kevin Phillips’ side a point.


Phillips says improvements are needed this weekend, particularly in front of goal.


He said: “The main word I’d use to sum up the Gainsborough game would be frustration, because I again came in afterwards and said to the players that we need to be more clinical with our opportunities.


“I’ve said that many times recently, because we have dominated most of our four games so far and have only been able to register one win.


“We can’t dwell on disappointments, though, and my thoughts very quickly turned to our two games this weekend, because we know what a tough challenge they’re both going to be.”


Shields have picked up six points from their opening four games, with the win coming in their opening match, at home to Stalybridge Celtic.


Phillips added: “Perspectives can quickly turn around with a couple of positive results and that’s certainly what we are aiming for.


“The key for us is that we keep believing in what we’re doing.


“If we do that, I’m confident things will come good for us.


“I work with the players every day on the training pitch and I can see they’re a confident group, so they just need to keep plugging away and sticking to the plan.”


Team news

Shields are expected to be boosted ahead of their visit to Nantwich by the return of Mackenzie Heaney, who missed the Gainsborough game with a slight knock.


Tom Broadbent has also returned to fitness and could make his competitive debut for the club on Saturday, while fellow defender Dillon Morse is back after playing the full 90 minutes on Tuesday.


JJ Hooper, Cedric Main and Callum Ross remain on the treatment table, but Phillips is hoping to have an otherwise full-strength squad to choose from.


Information for supporters

Kick-off at Swansway Stadium – which has a post code of CW5 5BS – is at 3pm and admission prices are £11 for adults, £8 for over-60s and £3 for under-16s. There is an additional £1 charge to be seated.


Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here.


You can follow updates from the match on the club’s Twitter account by clicking here.

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