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NPL Match Preview: South Shields vs Belper Town

Belper Town are the visitors to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday as South Shields aim to return to winning ways in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners tasted defeat at home in the league for the first time this season on Tuesday when leaders Hyde United emerged 1-0 victors.

Shields will now come up against a newly-promoted Belper side under the management of Steve Kittrick, who won promotion to this level as Scarborough Athletic boss five seasons ago.

The Nailers are bottom of the standings, having collected 10 points from their opening 17 fixtures, and were most recently in action last Saturday, when they were beaten 4-1 at home by Gainsborough Trinity.

Shields are sure to be wary not to under-estimate them, though, as the home side aim to earn a maximum set of points which could move them as high as fourth in the table.

Manager’s views

Manager Kevin Phillips has spoken of the need for a strong response from his team in front of the 1st Cloud Arena faithful.

He said: “Frustration was the main emotion after Tuesday’s game, but now it’s time for a massive reaction. It’s vital after a setback that you react in the right way, and I’m confident we can do that on Saturday.

“We will have to be at our very best, because although Belper are bottom of the table, they will be desperate to take points from us, like all teams are.

“This is another home game in front of our supporters, who I’m sure will get right behind the team again, as they have done all season.

“We desperately want our fans to have something to cheer about, and to see the players playing free-flowing football with confidence.

“We really have to rise to the challenge now, because we’re in a good position with games in hand and need a result to hopefully spark a winning run and help us climb the league. This is a very important afternoon.

“We’re wounded, disappointed, angry and upset after Tuesday’s result, but the only way to get over that is to put it right with a positive performance and scoreline.”

Team news

Sam Hodgson remains sidelined for Shields with a foot injury, with no date yet set for the striker’s return.

Phillips is also hopeful of having midfielder Callum Ross available after he missed Tuesday’s match with a back injury.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12pm.

The Last Post will be played after the teams enter the pitch to mark remembrance, and there will also be a minute’s silence ahead of the match.

Tickets are available in advance by clicking here before 12pm on matchday.

Supporters can also pay at the turnstiles, with admission priced at £12 for adults, £9 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, £5 for those aged 13 to 16 and £3 for under-12s. There is an additional charge of £2 for a seat, but these must be purchased in advance.

Turnstile 2 will accept cash, with all other turnstiles to accept card only. There is no segregation in place at this fixture.

Happy Hour pricing will be in operation in all bars between 12pm and 2pm, with a second Happy Hour to begin immediately following the final whistle and last until 6pm.

The Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea, which kicks off at 5.30pm, will be shown on all TVs.

A match programme, packed with content, is available to purchase for £3 and also acts as a raffle ticket, with one lucky programme holder to win a signed SSFC women’s shirt. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.

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