More than the 6-2 defeat was on the agenda in Gary Pearson’s post match interview, with the Ryhope manager hinting at off field investment and a possible flurry of signings.

Speaking following the poor result on Saturday, the manager said: “The club’s growing, it’s going in the right direction. I spoke to the chairman today, I think the club has moved a bit quicker on the pitch, than off the pitch.”

Game cancellations will mean a backlog of fixtures, and Pearson hinted at multiple signings in his post-match comments, even approaching Sunderland A.F.C for young loanees: “We approached Kevin Ball at Sunderland to see if we could get anyone in on loan.”

On the defeat to North Shields, Pearson added: “I asked them to stay in the game for as long as possible. If we got to 70 minutes, done alright and then got beaten on fitness I can understand that. I think we made too many errors and bad decisions and I believe that cost us.”

He added: “I highlighted Ben Harmison, the big centre-forward, to the guys. We’ve played against him twice this season and twice last season and he caused us problems. He’s a big physical lad but he doesn’t really cause you problems attacking wise, it’s the second ball.

“Take the first goal for instance, the long ball from the right back goes towards him and he’s flicked it on. Let him flick it on. Two of our players, both of our centre-halves went for it.

“He’s never going to score a header from 18 yards, it’s the second phase of play from that header. Corey Nicholson switched off and allowed their winger Dean Holmes to get behind and it was a great finish.”

Pearson clearly felt that the players could have got something out of the game if they’d applied his instructions: “We scored in the first minute, but what we didn’t do is what I asked. We need to be compact and tucked in. We weren’t, we were stretched.

“If they didn’t take what I asked and put it on the pitch then I can’t do anything about it. I told them how they play and what would happen and it did happen.”

Pearson stated: “At 2-1 at half time the next goal was always going to be crucial. Looking at the five minute rule, five of the eight goals were scored within the 5 minute rule.”

Six of Ryhope’s last eight games were called off and Pearson believes this was a factor in the performance: “The way I’ve put it to the players is that we haven’t played in around 4 weeks. We have trained but over the last few weeks we’ve trained on 5-a-side pitches so your fitness is always going to show.”

“We’ve been let down by some players not available today. I’ll deal with them because for the last 4 weeks we haven’t had a game. We’ve looked after them, we’ve trained and given them time off but certain players have let us down today and if they were here then I don’t think that would have happened.”

Last season Ryhope were part of a relegation battle, but thanks to a good start this season they have been looking up the table, however Pearson fears that recent form could have them looking over their shoulders: “We now slide into the possibility of a relegation battle. 19 games to go now and I want them to know that if they keep going the way they are, then they could get sucked into the battle.

“We’ve played well in spells, but we’re rock bottom of the form league. There’s been plenty of games where we could have or should have got a result.”

He added: “Even looking at today, it wasn’t a 6-2 game, you take three big errors out and you’ve got a 3-2 game. Then those three goals could have been avoided.”

Pearson is looking to see some of the wrongs put right in the League Cup game on Tuesday night, and admits that he is hoping for a run in the League Cup: “It’s fine margins and at this moment in time we are finding it really hard to be on the right end of that margin. It will turn round. And hopefully it starts with Durham City on Tuesday night in the cup.”

“A run in the League Cup keeps the season alive, if we go out of that cup on Tuesday we’re playing for survival or mid-table. It’s not what any player joins a club for.”

A positive for Colliery Welfare on the day was the performance of new signing Micky Rae, Pearson said: “The last thing I said to Micky before he went out is: ‘Don’t feel like you have to impress me and the players by scoring in the first minute. Be patient.’ He’s gone and scored in the first minute. He shoved that straight in my face.”

“Everything he’s done today showed why he played at a better level. I hoped that if I brought in a big player like that then everyone can bounce off him, and I think everyone has seen what a good player I can bring in.”

“He’s told me that he’s been at some big clubs, he can see that we’ve got something here but he can also see that we’re very naive and that’s coming from a player who is 30 year old and has played at a really good level.”

There could be more signings to come, including the re-signing of former captain Leon Ryan: “In all honesty, I’m massively now on the lookout for a left-back. Davey Gordon is one of the best left-backs in the league but he’s been out for eight weeks now and is looking at a further four. We’ve been having to play people who aren’t natural left-backs in the role.”

“On the run-in, you can only sign players up until a certain date. So I start getting concerned that because we’ve had a few games cancelled, we might have a backlog of midweek games. So I’m going to re-sign Leon Ryan, who was our captain last year. He retired from football to turn his eye to rugby.

“He’s a big commanding centre half and a good leader, we’re re-signing him just in case we require him. He’s won everything in football at this level.”

And the potential signings didn’t stop there, Pearson adding: “If you cast your mind back to when I put seven days in for a young forward, that might happen for next Saturday. I spoke to the player recently and he wants to come.”

Ryhope have also approached Sunderland for some young players who might need competitive football, on whether to expect a signing from the Black Cats Pearson said: “What we’ve been told is to wait until after the January transfer window, as that is very important to them, and they’ll see what their situation is.

“We’ll talk to them again and see if they want to send anyone out to get competitive football. We may get a couple of young starlets. I’m also going to speak to a few other people so I have my eyes on a few more.”

Pearson won promotion with the club to the Northern League First Division, and he says he’s looking for the club to grow further especially off the field: “I think we need to start building the place off the pitch to get it to a 50/50 rather than a 70/30 where we’re doing everything on the pitch.”

“I think as a club we need to start moving forward and the chairman agreed.”