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Match Preview: North Shields v West Allotment Celtic

The Robins return to action after a ten day break when they welcome Division Two pace setters West Allotment Celtic to the Daren Persson Stadium for the Quarter Final of the Northumberland Senior Cup.

In the last home game, Shields disappointed in a 3-1 defeat against mid-table Sunderland RCA.

However, they soon righted the wrongs of that performance by beating Newcastle Benfield on their own turf, in what was a dominant display.

Attentions will now turn to the Robins’ cup fortunes as they look to progress to the Semi Finals of the Senior Cup, at the expense of the Division Two champions-elect.

Questions marks will be raised about the availability of Scott McCarthy and Cam Cunningham ahead of tomorrow’s tie, with McCarthy picking up a hamstring injury against Benfield and Cunningham still recovering from a bout of mumps.

However, the return of Adam Forster in the heart of midfield has helped boost the Robins’ cause, with the skipper scoring an outstanding volley at Sam Smith’s Park.

West Allotment will be aided by the knowledge that they currently have three of the top five goalscorers in Division Two as Shane Jones, Abubaker Salim and Matthew Hayton have all been in incredible form this season.

The attacking trio have helped guide tomorrow’s guests to first place in Division Two, eight points clear of second place Redcar Athletic with two games in hand.

Revenge will also be on the minds of tomorrow’s opponents as last season, a Gary Day goal helped North Shields to a narrow 1-0 win at Druid Park in the same competition; denying West Allotment a place in the final at St James’ Park.

But having scored a whopping 78 goals in the league this season, and only conceding 26, tomorrow’s game will be just as close, if not closer.

Speaking ahead of the game, Shields manager Marc Nash recognised that despite being a division below, West Allotment will be a tough challenge.

“Our Second Division opponents stand between us and another semi final which of course is where we met West Allotment in last season’s competition,” said Nash.

“I think it’s fair to say that we were heavy favourites then but this time around, we are facing a side with a tremendous record in their league and are odds on to become Division Two champions.”

“That has to be respected as we know they have been pretty much winning week after week. They have already beaten both Ashington and Stockton in the League Cup so it’ll be another big scalp for them to take.”