Described by one opposition manager as the best team he’s seen at this level, South Shields are backed by a vociferous and sizeable support and have achieved back to back promotions to reach tier seven of the football pyramid.
Winners at Wembley in the FA Vase back in 2017, South Shields attract home gates of more than 1200, which puts them at a significant advantage compared to other clubs in this division in terms of revenue.
That includes Warrington, who despite their progress over the past five years in particular, still struggle to attract the support of the large town in which they play, with average crowds floating around the 300 mark.
If that figure could even double, then the opportunities that would provide for growing the club and the squad could prove the difference between winning the league and competing for the play-offs.
As things stand, South Shields are probably the only club that has looked like running away with the competition this season, with many expecting a highly competitive league from top to bottom.
The league is quickly becoming distorted owing to the cup exploits of various teams, but South Shields have won six and lost two of their eight games so far and sit a point above third placed Warrington, who have won five but only lost one.
Warrington have been on a terrific run of form, but experienced a blip last Saturday in a 3-3 draw with Consett, which they soon eradicated with a commanding, and somewhat typical, performance in the replay on Tuesday night where they kept yet another clean sheet.
A stern defence looks like the best way of getting a result against South Shields, though the Yellows will no doubt be eager to put down a marker for the rest of the campaign with victory here.
They suffered last season in meetings with challengers, losing heavily against the likes of Shaw Lane and Stourbridge, results that would ultimately cost them second place in the table owing to goal difference.
Paul Carden will be hoping that isn’t the case this season, and that their strong run of the past month or so can continue.
Given the budget cuts of the summer, there were modest expectations from certain people within the club in pre-season, but if the first six weeks have shown anything, it’s that Carden and his team are more than capable of winning promotion this season.
We are, though, already seeing the restrictions posed by the aforementioned budget restrictions and low crowds, as the club continues to seek a new striker to bring in to replace the released Richard Brodie.
They are still, frustratingly, waiting for clearance for left-sided player Alex Whittle, as reported a fortnight ago, which may become even more important if Adam Hughes is unable to shake off the knock that forced him off the pitch on Tuesday night.
The next seven or eight days will help paint a possible picture for the winter ahead – the home game with South Shields is followed by the visit of Mickleover Sports in the league on Tuesday night, before National League North side Telford United come to Cantilever Park in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.
A win for the Yellows there would put them within one win of a second ever appearance in the FA Cup first round proper, and a possible repeat of the greatest night in the town’s football history.