County Cup Test For Moors Ladies

Moors Ladies are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they take on South Shields in the Durham County Cup at New Ferens Park in Durham (1.30pm kick-off).

Billy Shackleton’s side ran out 3-0 winners when they visited Shields in the opening month of the season in the League Cup – but the Moors boss knows it will be a different game this time around.

Both Moors and Shields have been in great form so far this term, with Sunday’s opponents sitting one place above Moors in second in the NERWFL Premier Division table with five games played.

Matt Gattiss’ Shields outfit have produced some of their best performances in recent weeks too, including a 9-0 thrashing of Hartlepool United and the 4-1 triumph at Wakefield last time out.

Moors are looking for a response after losing their 100% record this season following an astonishing game against Sunderland West End on Sunday which they ended up losing 4-3.

“Matt has obviously got South Shields playing very well,” said Shackleton.

“I think he said himself that he was transitioning into the role when we last played them, but it’s clear that he’s hit the ground running in the league and they’re a good side by all reports.

“We know they have a number of talented players that are among the best at this level so this draw in the County Cup is not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ll approach it with confidence.”

After a hectic start to the fresh campaign, Shackleton has hinted at the idea of rotating his side for Sunday’s cup tie but is keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of selection.

His hand will be strengthened by the return of Holly Middleton to contention, while Meg Foster (concussion) could return, and Katy Hemmingway and Julia McGovern are set to be involved after missing out or playing limited minutes against Sunderland.

“Whilst I believe that every single player in our squad is capable of top performances, we’ve had to experiment with people in new positions recently,” Shackleton explained.

“Ideally, with the girls I have available, I would like to ensure we have them in roles they are familiar with so that might mean we go with a few players who have had less game time recently.

“We purposely run a small squad so we can offer minutes to all the girls, but that has been tough recently with the knocks we’ve had, so this might be a chance for us to shake things up and hopefully add a surprise factor for South Shields on Sunday.”

Kick-off at New Ferens Park is at the slightly earlier time of 1.30pm on Sunday with admission remaining at £3 for adults and completely free for all those under 12.

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