Picton expects Marine to give Spartans a stern test

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Ahead of his side’s crucial final day clash with Marine, Blyth Spartans assistant manager insisted that the Merseyside outfit would not be taken lightly.

The Mariners come to Croft Park needing to pick up points to stay in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s top flight, with Spartans looking to better Ilkeston’s result at Nantwich Town to seal a play-off place.

Picton and manager Tom Wade will be emphasising just how tricky a game it could be for their side ahead of the fixture.

“Marine will provide a stern test for us, they’re fighting for their lives and they will scrap for everything because they know, like we do, what they need to do on Saturday,” said Picton.

“Don’t forget they gave us a big scare at their place a few weeks back.

“We have momentum, we have this brilliant run and we want it to keep going.

“I think it might be a nervy affair because there is so much at stake for both clubs, but after the first half an hour has gone the game should settle.

“That is when we have to take control of the game and show why we are where we are but make no doubt about it, it will be a tough game.”

The former Whitley Bay defender is also calling on the Green Army to once again get behind their side.

Picton revealed his admiration for the way the Spartans faithful had got behind their side over the past two months and stressed just how important they are to the players.

He added: “Hopefully we can get the Green Army there in their numbers, with maybe a few extra given the gravity of the game and that will spur the lads on as it always does.

“I made a point at the forum last week about how important the supporters are for us, and I meant it.

“When they get behind the lads and give their support they really can become that 12th man for us, and I am sure they will do that.”

Not that support is a one-way street, Picton admitted, with Spartans knowing that they have to give them something to cheer.

He also called on supporters of the north east’s Premier League clubs to back Spartans, calling it “the perfect day to do that”.

“We know we have a responsibility as a management team and as a group of players to give the supporters something to shout about in the first place, hopefully then we can bounce off each other and create a really healthy atmosphere at Croft Park and show that Marine don’t just have to beat eleven men on the pitch,” he said.

I think there is apathy towards top flight football in the region and maybe people should give us a chance.

“Try it once and see what they think of the match day experience, Saturday could be the perfect day to do that.”