Match Preview: North Shields v Blyth Spartans

Lee Clark’s Blyth Spartans are the visitors tomorrow as North Shields host their first pre-season match of the summer.

The Robins comfortably dispatched Seaton Delaval 8-1 at Wheatridge Park on Saturday, courtesy of a Ryan Carr hattrick, a double for Scott McCarthy and goals from Gareth Bainbridge, Nick Cassidy and Paul Van Zandvliet.

However, the visit of the National League North side, who were defeated in the play-offs last season, should provide a sterner test for the 2018/19 Senior Cup Finalists.

This Spartans side should look familiar to fans of Northern League football as a number of talented players have recently made the move to Croft Park.

Dale Pearson, Rhys Evans and Joe Robson of Newcastle Benfield and Michael Sweet of Consett AFC made the switch over the summer alongside former Robins centre back Josh Nearney.

After a turbulent couple of months for tomorrow’s opposition, they have begun their pre-season campaign strongly, with a slender 2-1 win over Northern League Division One side Hebburn Town their latest victory.

Graeme Armstrong gave Hebburn the lead early on from the penalty spot, however, former Chelmsford City and Hartlepool United striker Scott Fenwick levelled for the Spartans with a spotkick of his own.

And with the game heading for a draw, Tom Devitt rose highest to head home an Adam Wrightson corner right at the death.

Speaking ahead of this game, Robins manager Marc Nash sees this meeting with the Spartans as a measuring stick for where his side are at.

“This game provides an early indication to see where we are at tactically and certainly physically,” exclaimed Nash.

“The players are looking hungry and eager to test themselves so this is a perfect opportunity for them.”

Despite a strong start to his team’s pre-season campaign, Nash was aware that Lee Clark’s side will have an advantage over them.

“Blyth have already had three games so they will be further ahead in terms of fitness so we will need to step up.”