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NPL Match Preview: South Shields vs Matlock Town

South Shields host Matlock Town on Saturday for the final fixture at 1st Cloud Arena before a run of four consecutive away games (3pm kick-off).

It is the first meeting between the sides this season, with the reverse fixture in Derbyshire having been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 7th.

Shields go into the game holding a nine-point lead at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League while Matlock are ninth, four points away from the play-off places.

The last meeting between the clubs was last February, when the Mariners won 3-1 in a battle between two automatic promotion rivals.

Kevin Phillips' side drew 1-1 at Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday to stretch their unbeaten run to six games, while Matlock will be looking to bounce back from a 1-0 home loss to Guiseley.

Manager's views

Phillips is keen to stress there is much work for Shields to do, with 13 games remaining.

He said: “We’re delighted with the position we’re in, but we still have lots of challenges ahead if we are to achieve our aim of promotion.

“The first of those is Matlock on Saturday, and they come into this game off the back of a disappointing result at home to Guiseley on Tuesday.

“They will be desperate to bounce back and like every team in this league, they have a real threat.

“We’ve only lost once at home in the league this season and don’t intend to add to that, but we have to approach the match with caution and with the attitude that if we play the way we know we can, we have an excellent chance of winning.”

Team news

Shields are expecting to have a near full-strength squad to select from, although Joao Gomes is a doubt with tonsillitis.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12.30pm.

Supporters can pay for entry at the turnstiles, with tickets priced at £12 for adults, £9 for students and over-65s, £5 for children aged 13 to 16, and £3 for children aged 12 and under. There is an additional £2 charge for a seat.

Tickets can be purchased in advance until 12pm on Saturday by clicking here.

Supporters can also 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 and if any supporter would like to upgrade to a seat on matchday, they can do so for a £2 charge at the hut next to turnstile 1 and 2.

Before the game, a minute's silence will be held in memory of Keith Havelock as the first anniversary of his death approaches. Keith was a close friend of Shields manager Kevin Phillips and was well-liked by all at the club.

Supporters are encouraged to stay behind after the match, with the Newcastle United versus Liverpool game to be shown in the new stand bar and Alum Ale House downstairs clubhouse bar.

Our Saturday standardised opening times will be in operation. The opening times are:

New stand bar: 12.30pm-close

New stand kiosk: 12.30-5pm

Shipley Heating Lounge: 12.30-6.15pm

Barbour Lounge: 12.30-6pm

Alum Ale House downstairs bar: 12.30-8.30pm

Synergi marquee: 2-5pm

Burger van: 12.30-5pm

Black tin: 12.30-5pm

Club shop: 12.30-5pm

Corporate hospitality boxes: 12.30-6pm

Visitors to the club shop can take advantage of a 10% discount on away shirts and 15% off trainingwear.

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 on March 14th. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.

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