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NPL Match Preview: South Shields vs Marine

South Shields take on Marine at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday in their opening home game of 2023 (3pm kick-off).

Both sides occupy positions in the top six of the Pitching In Northern Premier League, with the Mariners aiming to strengthen their place at the summit.

Shields have won six of their last eight games to establish a three-point lead, but are expecting a difficult test against Marine, who won promotion to this level last season.

Neil Young's side could climb as high as fourth with a victory, and the reverse fixture ended in a 2-2 draw in August.

Manager's views

Shields manager Kevin Phillips says Shields are “full of confidence” after Monday’s 1-0 win over rivals Morpeth Town.

He said: “We start the calendar year where we want to be, at the top of the table and off the back of a brilliant derby win.

“The squad is in a very good place at the moment and feeling full of confidence.

“We’re delighted with the season we’ve had so far and now it’s time to push on in the weeks ahead.

“We’re aiming to give our supporters - who have turned out in their droves every week - lots more to shout about between now and the end of April.”

Phillips is wary of the threat posed by Marine, who received international attention when they reached the third round of the Emirates FA Cup in the 2020-21 season before being beaten by Tottenham Hotspur.

He added: “Marine have had an impressive season after winning promotion last time out, and we look back on our 2-2 draw at their place in August as a game of two halves.

“We completely dominated the first 45 minutes but just couldn’t get a second goal to make our lead more comfortable, and they proved to be a different proposition after the break.

“Although they were beaten on Monday, Marine are in good form and will be looking to bounce back this weekend.

“I’m sure they will be fully motivated to take points from us, as all teams are, but we’ve dealt with that kind of challenge well so far this season and have had a good amount of time to prepare.”

Team news

Shields are hoping to have a clean bill of health, with no fresh injury problems reported.

Information of supporters

The turnstiles will open at 12pm ahead of 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.

Happy Hour pricing will be in operation in all bars between 12pm and 1.30pm, with a second Happy Hour to begin immediately following the final whistle and last until 6pm.

The Emirates FA Cup action will be shown on the TVs, including the match between Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United, which kicks off at 6pm.

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 FC United of Manchester on January 21sr. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.

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