By Mark Carruthers
North Shields manager Marc Nash has sympathy with the club’s supporters as his side prepare to round off their Ebac Northern League title bid with six consecutive away games.
The Robins completed their home fixtures for the season with a 4-2 win against Guisborough Town on Saturday and moved to within three points of leaders Consett.
Nash’s side also have the benefit of holding four games in hand on the Steelmen – the first of which comes on Wednesday night when they head to Thornaby.
A quick return to Teesside follows this weekend at Redcar Athletic and North Shields hit the road once again three days later when they travel to Newton Aycliffe.
A North Tyneside double-header at Whitley Bay and West Allotment Celtic comes over Easter weekend before Nash’s men bring down the curtain on their season with a game at West Auckland Town.
The run of away days will see the Robins faithful rack up a total travel distance of over 320 miles over the next two and a half weeks.
Despite facing a challenging schedule, Nash remains unfazed by the challenge that lies ahead for his players – but does believe the fixture list is “unfair” on the club’s supporters as they look to roar their side on to only the second Northern League title in their history.
He told The NLP: “I’m not fazed by having six away games in front of us.
“It’s pretty quirky that it’s happened this way and it might not seem fair.
“I’m not bothered about how it is for us as coaches or players, I think it’s unfair on the supporters, who back us everywhere we go.
“We have the best away record in the league, we’ve only lost once, but from a football point of view, having six away games in a row doesn’t bother me.”
The title battle looked to swing in North Shields favour over the weekend when they left the pitch following the win against Guisborough to discover title rivals Consett had fallen to a 2-1 defeat at Penrith.
Many onlookers have suggested Nash’s men have the luxury of being able afford to drop six points and still secure the title over the next month.
However, the Robins boss is solely focused on getting enough points to become champions as quickly as possible, rather than having the “insurance” of being able to lose games.
“I’ve always said if we do our job, Consett do have a bit of pressure there,” he explained.
“We’ve not really let them in since things went into our hands and that’s the way it’s got to stay.
“We just train, focus on games, focus on what is next.
“We can’t look at the insurance of dropping points and say it’s ok to drop this many.
“We are talking about winning, not dropping points, we need to go to Thornaby and win.
“It’s as simple as that.”