Marine AFC boss, Neil Young believes his side deserve great credit for overcoming adversity this season due to their extensive injury record.
Following a sucession of injuries earlier in the campaign, Marine lost both Freddie Price and Jack Dunn to ACL injuries at the start of 2023 which has ruled them out for the season. Both have since undergone successful surgery but losing two integral members of the squad hasn’t been easy for Young.
Despite this, the Mariners are just three points shy of the play-off places with a game in hand on the three teams above them, a position Young attributes to his squad and coaching staff.
He told MerseySportLive: “Considering the amount of injuries we’ve had and setbacks, the lads have done an amazing job to put us in the position we’re currently in.
“A lot of people had us down to finish in the bottom half of the table or in some cases relegation. So to be sitting in seventh now with 10 games to go, it’s great credit to the players and staff who have made that possible.”
Marine are set to face Guiseley at the weekend who they beat 3-0 in the first game of the season.
Due to the current weather conditions most teams will be waiting until Saturday morning to assess their pitch to see if games can go ahead. However, that won’t be an issue for Marine. Following on from the defeat to Spurs in the FA Cup third round two years ago, the Crosby club earned north of £500,000 through prize money, television revenue and sponsorships.
The club reinvested those funds into a new 3G pitch that is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions meaning Saturday’s fixture is still on.
Said Young: “As football has evolved over the years I don’t think the pitch makes much difference to myself personally.
“I think a lot of teams now are technically good and will probably prefer to play on our pitch particularly at this time of year than some other pitches.
“We know ourselves from last year how difficult the pitches can be at this time of year with the grass and the amount of games that are played on them. It’s a good surface to play on and we’ve got used to it more and more and that’s the advantage to us.”
Being in the mix for a potential promotion push certainly adds excitement for the loyal Marine supporters. The team is exceeding expectations and this is largely due to the high standards Young sets for his players.
He said: “My expectation personally is always be the best we possibly can. I’ve got high expectations of myself. We don’t go into a league season to fail, we go in to try be the best we possibly can and we’ve managed to do that.”
Marine AFC v Guiseley AFC kicks off on Saturday (March 11) at Rossett Park at 15:00 (GMT).