South Shields defender hunts for progress to FA Vase semi-finals

South Shields defender Darren Lough
South Shields defender Darren Lough
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Defender Darren Lough is confident that if South Shields play to their potential tomorrow, they will progress to the Buildbase FA Vase semi-finals.

The Northern League’s last survivors in the competition host Newport Pagnell Town at Mariners Park tomorrow, with a 3,000 crowd looking likely.

Lough said: “I’m looking forward to it a lot. We’ve had a big week of preparation and two training sessions to get us ready.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to put on a big performance in front of a big crowd.

“The atmosphere is going to be incredible and I just hope we can put in a performance to go into the next round.

“It’s a cup game and anything can happen on the day.

“They’re coming up here and know what we’re going to be like. It will come down to us and how we perform. If we play well, I’m confident we’ll win the game.”

Shields will be without injured duo Barrie Smith and Leepaul Scroggins, while ex-Washington left-back Anthony Callaghan is cup-tied.

The winners of tomorrow’s tie go into the two-legged semi-final, with a Wembley final the lure.

Joint manager Lee Picton wants Shields to learn from two of their lowest points this season.

In front of bumper home crowds, the Mariners were beaten 1-0 by North Shields in November, and were 4-2 down against Morpeth Town in a third round Vase tie in January, before the floodlights failed.

Picton said: “We’re going to have to deal with the occasion tomorrow.

“To be honest, there have been a couple of similar occasions already this season where we’ve perhaps not done ourselves justice or been near the top of our game.

“Hopefully those experiences in front of a packed Mariners Park will give us the confidence to put a better show on. It’s about focusing on us, getting our levels right and being as good as we can be tomorrow.”

Newport Pagnell, who knocked out Sunderland RCA in the last round, are 11th in the United Counties League Premier Division.

Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and tickets for the all-ticket fixture are still available by calling 0191 454 7800 or visiting the ground.