Fan View: Live football returned to the Marine Travel Arena for the first time since January on Tuesday night as 801 spectators flocked to Crosby to watch Marine's FA Cup Preliminary Round replay.

We’ve reached the half way stage of the season and with the busy festive period coming, Off The Park spoke to Marine fan, Tim.

Thoughts on the season so far?

I think we all expected to be challenging at the top but to be 7 points clear at Christmas must be beyond even the most optimistic fan!

We haven’t really hammered anyone, and I suspect quite a few teams we’ve beaten will have come away thinking they weren’t far off us, but when you think of the defensive injuries we’ve had it’s amazing how well we’ve done really. The midfielders who e dropped into defence have been unbelievable.

Worst moment of the season & why?

I honestly couldn’t split the two injuries suffered by Anthony Miley and Germano Mendes. Football-wise Miley was a key player and to lose him to a broken leg really was a real worry and awful to see for him as a lad.

Mendes is such a popular figure around the club and to have a backup keeper of that quality is crazy really. I understand his knee injury has had a massive impact on his ability to work and puts into perspective what lads at this level put in for their football.

Two terrible moments but they’ll both be back strong I’m sure.

Best moment of the season?

I think best moments should always be a goal, there’s no better feeling than the release of emotion as the ball hits the net, especially when you know VAR won’t spoil it!

I actually missed the Wrexham home game or I might be picking the goal even if it didn’t all work out with a win. So personally I’m going with the last minute of extra time winner v Atherton in the 3rd qualifying round.

We had two really hard games against them and to win it like we did just cemented that “we always find a way” feeling.

Signing of the season

I think the best “signings” we made was to retain the bulk of last seasons squad when there must’ve been significant interest from elsewhere. We’ve also made some really shrewd loan signings like Kyle Hayde and now George Newell who are tremendous young players.

But if I had to lol someone who hasn’t played for us before this season I’d have to say David Lynch is a top signing. He’s just getting up to full fitness I’d say and has been immense the month especially.

Owen Watkinson would be a close second but Lynch is experienced with proven quality and Neil Young has done well to get him into what is a very youthful squad.

Current player of the season & why?

Tricky one! When you’re top of the league there’s always going to be loads of top performers. The way Mark Haworth has fitted in as a centre back from midfield has been a revaluation.

Danny Shaw coming in from a patient couple of years waiting for his turn has been equally impressive and the defensive records with and without him tell a tale. You could easily go Barrigan or Doyle for their midfield energy or Wignall for his vital goals and the way he can control a game.

But…. I think I’d have to go Neil Kengni right now. He’s the player that really frightens teams and is one of our real points of difference. He’s got to be one of the quickest players in the division and is improving his strength and finishing all the time. So he gets the nod so far.

Realistic ambitions for the rest of the season

Promotion is an obvious one and clearly within our grasp. As I’ve said we haven’t been hammering teams so we can all see we need to maintain our level of performance. It’s not like we have loads to spare and can drop off but the manager’s interviews suggest he thinks we can get better so with a bit more luck whether centre back injuries I’m honestly hoping for the title and to avoid the playoffs.

Off the pitch I know the committee are still investing wisely and I’m hoping to see the set-up around the ground continue to be developed and the unbelievable crowds we’re getting keep coming for the long run. As they say “if you build it, they will come!”