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NPL Match Preview: South Shields vs FC United

South Shields welcome FC United of Manchester to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday in an eye-catching Pitching In Northern Premier League clash (3pm kick-off).

The match pits the two clubs with the highest average attendances in the league against each other, and a bumper crowd is anticipated on South Tyneside.

The sides sit first and eighth in the table respectively, and the Mariners go into the game aiming to bounce back from last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Guiseley.

The reverse fixture took place in October, when FC United came from a goal behind to inflict a first loss of the season on Shields with two late goals.

Manager's views

Shields manager Kevin Phillips is eager to stress that Saturday’s match is no bigger than any other, but with the season into its final three months, the stakes are high.

Phillips said: “FC United showed they are a good side in the reverse fixture, when they beat us 2-1 with two late goals.

“It will be a tough game, but it’s one we are confident we can win if we perform to the level we’re capable of.

“Both teams will receive great support and I’m sure FC United will bring a lot of fans to contribute to a brilliant atmosphere, but we have to stress that it’s not a bigger game than any other.

“We always have to be careful not to build up individual matches too much, and FC United are just another side which will be looking to take points from us.

“We’re the home team and our home form is there for everyone to see, but we’ll need another very solid performance to get the result we’re looking for.”

Phillips is set to watch the game from the stands after being sent off following Shields’ 1-0 defeat at home to Hyde United in November.

He believes the strong home support could play a major part in the Mariners’ hopes of claiming maximum points.

He added: “My message to the fans is that we’ve still got a long way to go and that if they keep getting behind the team the way they have all season, they will help us hugely.

“For the majority of the season, we’ve seen the levels the fans can bring from the players with their support, and I’m sure that will continue in the weeks and months ahead.”

Team news

Shields have a strong squad to select from, but midfielder Michael Woods misses out as he continues his recovery from an eye operation.

Information for supporters

The 1st Cloud Arena turnstiles will open at 12.30pm, with the match to kick-off at 3pm.

Tickets are 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. A £2 upgrade is available for those wishing to seat – but this is only available for those who purchase tickets in advance.

Supporters can buy tickets in advance by clicking here or pay at the turnstiles.

Turnstile 2 will accept cash, with all other turnstiles to accept card only. There is no segregation in place at this fixture, but FC United fans are encouraged to enter the ground through turnstiles 3 and 4.

Happy Hour pricing will be in operation in all bars between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, with a second Happy Hour to begin immediately following the final whistle and last until 6pm.

The day's Premier League action will be shown on the TVs, with Liverpool vs Chelsea to kick-off at 12.30pm and the match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United beginning at 5.30pm.

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 four tickets for our game against Lancaster City on February 4th. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.

Should a pitch inspection be required, it will be posted on the club's social media channels and website, so please monitor them for information.

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