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NPL Match Preview: South Shields vs Warrington Town

South Shields take on Warrington Town in their final home fixture of a historic season at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners will lift the Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division trophy after the game against the league's second-placed side.

Kevin Phillips' team clinched the championship after winning 1-0 at Whitby Town on Monday and now have the opportunity to celebrate their success.

First, though, they will aim to get the better of Warrington after twice being beaten by the Yellows earlier this season.

Warrington are bound for the play-offs and have a 22-match unbeaten record.

Manager's thoughts

Shields manager Phillips is adamant motivation will not be an issue for his side.

He said: “It has been an amazing season, but we don’t want to finish with a whimper in these last two games. I want us to win them.

“It can be difficult to try to get players up for matches like this when there isn’t much riding on the result, but motivation is provided by the fact we came unstuck twice against Warrington earlier this season and want to put that right.”

Phillips was tasked with delivering promotion when he was appointed in January 2022, and after disappointment in the play-offs last season, his team bounced back in style.

He added: “Huge congratulations have to go to everyone connected to the club now promotion has been secured.

“It’s an amazing achievement from all concerned but especially the players, who all had to step up to the plate to get us over the line.

“I can’t say enough how proud I am of them, because they’ve given me everything so far this season and never given me reason to doubt them.

“Some criticism has been levelled at them at times but I’ve always tried to keep any negativity away from the group and remain positive, even when results have been negative.

“Over the course of a season, there are always going to be ups and downs, but you have to remain level-headed, focused, positive and believe in what you’re doing.

“The players now deserve every bit of credit that comes their way, because they’ve been immense.”

Another big crowd is expected on Saturday for the Mariners’ promotion celebrations.

On the influence of the fans this season, Phillips said: “They’ve been incredible ever since I came to the club.

“There must have been over 1,000 of our fans at Whitby on Monday and they provided tremendous support.

“It’s a bit of a cliché, but they’ve been our 12th man so many times and have played a big part in our success. This championship is for them as much as anyone.

“I’m sure they will do what they always do on Saturday and get right behind the team.”

Team news

Shields will be without Michael Woods and Josh Doherty (both knee) for the game at 1st Cloud Arena.

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. No segregation is in place at this fixture.

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

Although this is not an all-ticket match, supporters are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to help ease queuing on matchday.

Supporters can pay at the turnstiles. Turnstile 2 will accept cash, with all other turnstiles to accept card only. 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.

The club also again reminds supporters that the possession and use of pyrotechnics and smoke bombs is strictly prohibited. Further information is available by clicking here.

The trophy will be presented to the team after the game, with the players to then take part in a lap of honour. Full details are available by clicking here.

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 two Sunday lunches at SSFC. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.

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