South Shields boss Graham Fenton called his side’s defeat to North Shields in November as his lowest point of the season.
His South Tyneside side face their rivals from across the river on Saturday, with the clubs occupying the top two spots in the Northern League Division One.
In an interview with SportsByte, when asked what the Mariners’ lowest point of the season was, he replied: “Without a doubt getting beat by North Shields.”
Fenton spent a successful four-and-a-half years at North Shields, earning promotion to Northern League Division One in 2014 before earning FA Vase and Northumberland Senior Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
But in September 2016, the former Blackburn Rovers player swapped the North of the Tyne for the South following the sacking surprise of Jon King.
Fenton, who joined as a joint-manager alongside Lee Picton, soon faced his old side two months later, where his former players upset the odds by edging a 1-0 win at Mariners Park in November 2016.
The ex-Robins bossed revealed that day was the Mariners lowest point of the season.
“It was just one of those games where we weren’t quite at our best and North Shields defended really really well – set up strong and played counter attacking football and got the break on the day with Kev [Hughes] scoring.
“It’s tough because you want to win at the club you’re at but I’ve still got a lot of friends at the club and I can almost take a little bit of pride in their performances.
“Over the four-and-a-half years that I was there, we did a lot of work on team shape and basically setting up deep and counter-attacking, and that’s exactly what the North Shields players did on the day and done a good job of it. “
Due to the Mariners’ record-breaking 30 wins in a row, Fenton and co. can go level on the points at the top of the Northern League with a win in Saturday’s Shields derby’, with a game in hand.
Fenton said: “They’re [North Shields] doing exceptionally well as a team and a management. They’re doing a fantastic job but we’re going to push them all the way.”