South Shields may be strong favourites to lift the FA Vase and maintain the Northern League’s proud tradition in the competition writes Ken Gaunt

But joint manager Lee Picton insists they have their feet on the ground and not their head in the clouds.

The Mariners are at home to Newport Pagnell Town in the quarter-finals after disposing of Team Solent 5-2 in Southampton at the weekend.

Northern League sides have won seven of the last eight finals but Picton said: “I know our fans are singing Wembley songs but there are seven other teams, who have just as much right to be there as us.

“We have just got to focus on the game coming up and earn the right to be in the semi-final. Forget about the final and comments about our name being on the trophy.”

The highlight of the win on the south coast was a wonder 40-yard goal from former Middlesbrough and Sunderland midfielder Julio Arca.

Picton said: “That’s  what Julio can do. He belied his years in terms of his hunger and appetite for the game.

“For someone who has played at such a high level  he is such a fantastic example for all our players. He has a love for the game which shows when he plays.”

Picton added: “I have to give our fans enormous credit. To travel in their hundreds, 300 odd miles, getting up at 5am, incredible

“I have been at a few clubs but never experienced anything as fanatical as this. We are still in all competitions and games are coming thick and fast. Exciting times are ahead.”

Article: Ken Gaunt
Images: South Shields FC (Peter Talbot)

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