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NPL Match Preview: Stafford Rangers vs South Shields


South Shields face their final assignment of a historic season on Saturday when they travel to Stafford Rangers (3pm kick-off).


The Mariners head to Staffordshire as champions of the Pitching In Northern Premier League, and are looking to end their campaign with fourth straight victory.


Stafford are in good form themselves, with a six-match unbeaten run having lifted them to 13th and comfortably clear of any relegation concerns.


The reverse fixture was held at 1st Cloud Arena in November, when goals from Martin Smith and Darius Osei earned Shields a 2-0 win.


Manager's thoughts


Shields manager Kevin Phillips has called on his team to finish the campaign strongly.


He said: "It’s important for us to try to end the season on a high, and we’re going there aiming to win the game.


“We are delighted with our achievements this season and certainly don’t want to end on a bad note, particularly after our excellent victory over Warrington last Saturday.


“This is one of our longest journeys of the season and it certainly won’t be easy, but the players are highly motivated and looking forward to the game.”


On the test posed by Saturday's hosts, Phillips added: “Stafford will be wanting to end the season with some momentum, too, so we expect a strong challenge from them.

“We go into the match with confidence ourselves, though, and as I’ve consistently said throughout the season, our main focus has to be on what we do.

“When we do the basics right and play the way we know we can, we’ve proven we are the best team in the division, and we’ll be looking to show that again on Saturday.


“I’m sure we’ll also have a strong travelling support, and we’d like to send them home happy.


“They have been outstanding for us all season, home and away, and we can’t thank them enough for how they helped us get over the line.


“As always, we’re aiming to put on a show for them and reward that incredible support.”


Team news


Shields are without injured midfielder Michael Woods, with Lewis Alessandra and Josh Doherty also expected to miss out.


Information for supporters


Kick-off at Marston Road – which has a post code of ST16 3UF – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £8 for concessions, £8 for students and £3 for Under-16s. There is an extra £2 charge for supporters who would like a seat in the stand. Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here.


Supporters who are unable to make it to the game can listen to live commentary from Ronnie Peet by clicking here.

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