South Shields will aim to continue the momentum generated by a terrific week when they host Warrington Rylands in the Pitching In Northern Premier League on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Back-to-back 1-0 wins over Scunthorpe United and Liversedge have strengthened the Mariners’ position in the Emirates FA Cup and the league over the last seven days.
Shields have also been boosted by the excitement of the draw for the first round of the FA Cup, which pitted them against League One side Forest Green Rovers in a tie which will be broadcast live on BBC One.
This will be the Mariners’ first meeting with Warrington Rylands, who were promoted from the NPL Division One West as champions last season.
They are under the interim management of Jody Banim and boast two of the league’s top three goalscorers in Callum Dolan and Kane Drummond. No team have scored more than Rylands’ 30 so far.
Rylands are, though, winless in their last six league games and sit 13th in the table with 20 points.
Shields are fourth with four games in hand on leaders FC United, who are four points clear of them, after their 1-0 victory at Liversedge in midweek.
Confidence among the Mariners’ squad is high, but manager Kevin Phillips says they will have to be at their best to defeat Rylands.
He said: “This will be another challenging game for us, and we know Warrington Rylands will be determined to take points from us.
“We will respect them, and they have two of the top goalscorers in the league among their ranks, so they can’t be taken lightly.
“We will have to be at our very best to get a result, but we’re in a good place and full of confidence.
“We’re excited about the game because after Saturday, we have a little break from league action, which makes this one even more important as we try to continue the momentum we’ve been building.”
Striker Will Russ could make his home debut after playing 72 minutes of the match at Liversedge, a day after joining on loan from Fleetwood Town.
The club also announced the loan departure of Darius Osei on Tuesday, with the frontman linking up with Ashton United for 28 days.
Phillips added: “Darius recently recovered from a four to five-week injury absence, and this period at Ashton will give him a great opportunity to get match minutes.
“We want him to go and play some football, score some goals and challenge again when he comes back.
“We all know what Darius can bring to our team and look forward to welcoming him back in a month.”
Shields are set to be without strikers Lewis Alessandra and Sam Hodgson, although Alessandra is thought to be close to a return.
Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £12 for adults, £9 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, £5 for children aged 13 to 16 and £3 for under-12s.
Tickets can be bought in advance before 12pm on Saturday by clicking here. If you would like a seat, you must purchase before the day.
The turnstiles will open at the earlier than usual time of 12pm, with card payments accepted at all turnstiles, and cash taken at turnstile 2.
Happy hour pricing will apply in all bars between 12pm and 2pm, and from the final whistle until 6pm. We now have a cash till in the new stand bar, Synergi Marquee and Alum Ale House clubhouse bar.
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 football signed by the SSFC team. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.