North Shields play the penultimate game of their pre-season campaign as they travel to North Yorkshire to face Knaresborough Town at Manse Lane.
The Boro are familiar opposition for the Robins as last pre-season, they made the familiar journey south. On that occasion, a solo goal from Ben Sampson, now of Ashington, gave us the 1-0 win.
Our familiarity with our friends from Yorkshire doesn’t stop there. In the second round of the 2017 FA Vase, two goals from Gaz Bainbridge, this time at the Daren Persson Stadium, gave the Robins a 2-1 victory. Unfortunately, we were to lose in the next round to Newcastle Benfield.
The Robins will be entering this game riding high on a wave of confidence after going undefeated in the last three pre-season fixtures. Victories over Jarrow, Bedlington Terriers and most recently against Newcastle University saw us score eight goals whilst only conceding once.
Against the newly promoted University side, a first half goal from Paul Robinson, followed by two goals from Ryan Carr and a solo effort from Gaz Bainbridge, saw us to a comfortable 4-0 win against what was an energetic opposition.
Knaresborough, on the other hand, will be playing their final pre-season fixture against us. So far this pre-season, the Boro have experienced mixed fortunes after two wins, two losses and one draw from their five current games.
They began their pre-season campaign with a heavy 7-0 defeat at the hands of National League side Harrogate Town, which was then followed up by a 0-0 draw against Northern Counties East League Division One side Nostell Miners FC.
Then there form began to pick up with victories over Northern Premier League Division One North West Pickering Town and Northern Counties East League Division One side Campion FC; 5-1 and 2-1 respectively.
However, in their most recent friendly, they fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Harrogate Railway of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
Speaking ahead of the trip south, manager Marc Nash explained how he was looking forward to hitting the road.
“We are looking forward to another trip to Knaresborough,” said Nash
“It is always a good exercise to have a game with a coach journey as it can be a dry run unless you get a big away tie in the early rounds of the FA competitions.”
However, Saturday’s game will see a number of players unavailable.
Nash said, “We have completed every scheduled pre-season training session and had six games also because we have had great numbers.”
“However, for this one, we are well shy due to holidays but with a week to go, it gives some players the opportunity to impress further.
“The lads have worked extremely hard but we are reaching the point where we want proper competitive action but there’s still a few friendlies to play and we will use these games to our advantage.”