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NPL Match Preview: Stalybridge Celtic vs South Shields

South Shields take on Stalybridge Celtic for the third time this season on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners are travelling to Bower Fold as they aim to strengthen their position at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

Unbeaten in their last 10, Shields are 10 points clear at the summit heading into their final nine matches of the campaign.

Stalybridge have pressing concerns of their own as they bid to stave off the threat of relegation in the season's final weeks.

The Celts are 17th and six points above the bottom four after last weekend's 2-1 win over Belper Town.

Shields defeated Stalybridge 2-0 at 1st Cloud Arena on the season's opening day and also triumphed 2-1 at Bower Fold in the Isuzu FA Trophy in October.

Heavy snow and freezing conditions have been prevalent in the Greater Manchester area over recent days, and a pitch inspection will be held at 11am on the day of the game to decide whether it can go ahead.

Manager's views

Shields drew 0-0 at Matlock Town on Tuesday and this will be their fourth consecutive away match before the Mariners host FC United of Manchester on Tuesday.

Manager Kevin Phillips has praised his side's recent form - but continues to insist that complacency must not creep in.

He said: "The players have a fantastic mentality and they’ve shown that throughout the season.

“We’re in a brilliant place and I can sense the players have that bit between their teeth.

“We’re so close but we’ve still got a lot of work to do, and anything can happen in football.

“We’ve got to stay grounded and look to put in another solid away performance against Stalybridge, who are scrapping for their lives.”

Team news

It is unclear whether defender Dillon Morse will recover from his injury in time to play a part on Saturday, but Shields are expected to have an otherwise full-strength squad to choose from.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at Bower Fold – which has a post code of SK15 2RT – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults and £8 for concessions.

Admission can be paid at the turnstiles but tickets are also available to purchase in advance by clicking here.

Supporters who are unable to make it to the game can listen to live commentary from Michael Manuel, which will be available by clicking here.

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