Shields enjoy a taste of the Premiership before FA Vase final

North Shields striker Gareth Bainbridge, captain Kevin Hughes and manager Graham Fenton at Wembley for the Media preview day. Picture by Russell Wynn.
North Shields striker Gareth Bainbridge, captain Kevin Hughes and manager Graham Fenton at Wembley for the Media preview day. Picture by Russell Wynn.

Staff and players at North Shields have been given a taste of Premiership football as they prepare for their biggest game of the season.

Ahead of running out at Wembley this Saturday, the squad will have taken part at the training grounds of three Premiership football clubs.

Newcastle United opened their gates at their Benton facilities last week while north east rivals Sunderland have also welcomed the Robins to their first team training ground.

And on Friday, North Shields will train at Aston Villa – just as they did ahead of the semi final.

The squad will also look the part at Wembley after getting their suits for the final from menswear specialists Slaters in Newcastle, which have been sponsored by Radar Taxis of North Shields.

Assistant manager Andy Bowman said: “We will be preparing as much as we can to make sure no stone is left unturned.

“There are a lot of distractions that obviously surround a Wembley Final but the lads are coping with them in a professional manner.

“After a session at Newcastle we head for another at Sunderland’s first team training ground then on to Aston Villa on Friday as we did on the way to face Highworth in the semi final.

“We will have a look at Wembley on Friday evening to have a look round and ‘acclimatise’ before the main event.

“We’re all raring to go but fully appreciate just how tough our opponents will be.

“Of course we travel with quiet confidence and hope all those Shields supporters cheering us on really enjoy the weekend.

“Make no mistake we will be going all out to bring the cup back to Tyneside.”

Manager Graham Fenton, captain Kevin Hughes and leading goalscorer Gareth Bainbridge have already been to Wembley ahead of the final as part of the Media day preview.

Fenton said: “I’ve had the experience of playing at Wembley in a Cup Final myself with Aston Villa, so that’s something I’ll try to pass down to the players.

“We know about The FA Amateur Cup success in 1969 – the photos are in the cabinet at the ground and we’ve still got members of that team who come down and watch us.

“Everyone is well aware of the success North Shields had in the 60s, hopefully we can put in a memorable performance and recreate those memories.”