Neil Young highlights Stocksbridge Park Steels FA Cup concern as Marine boss makes striker plea

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Marine manager Neil Young says his side need to be “spot on” in order to avoid upset against Stocksbridge Park Steels in the FA Cup.

They go into the trip to South Yorkshire with one win in their last three following a draw with Bamber Bridge and defeat to Radcliffe.

The Mariners know all about being giant-killers in the FA Cup after their famous run to the third round where they eventually met Tottenham Hotspur. They overcame the likes of Colchester United and Havant and Waterlooville to create their space in history.

Young is hoping to use his sides experience in the tournament to deny being on the wrong end of an upset themselves and praised this weekend’s opponents after they knocked out Atherton Collieries in the last round.

He told Off The Park: “I’m probably one of the older managers at this level that have been there a couple of times. I played them when I was at Colwyn Bay when they were at our level, it’s a tough place to go, always has been.

“I think Jamie Vardy was playing when I was last there. Tough place to go, FA Cup – we’ve been the underdogs on many occasions since I’ve been at Marine. I’ve been able to upset the applecart and I’m sure Stocksbridge will be looking to do the same.

“They beat Atherton [Collieries] in the last round so it shows they can get up for games against good teams from higher levels so we’ve got to be on our guard to put a performance in. We’ve been the underdogs before so we know the elation of knocking teams out of this competition. 

“For game like this it’s everything that they’ve been doing so far, I can’t knock their commitment, their attitude, they’re the first two things going into this game that we’ve got to make sure we carry on doing.

“Since we got going at the start of the season, we haven’t been lacking for any of them, as long as we take them into the games – we’re going to need some luck as well, which I’m sure Stocksbridge and hopefully on the day our talented players will come to the fore and be enough.

“We know at this level, anything can happen, we’ve got to make sure we’re spot on, in the right frame of mind to put a right shift in.”

Last time out, a single goal handed the third defeat of the season against Radcliffe but to add to the frustration from the Marine boss, they continue to perform to a standard that pleases the manager.

But they continue to find themselves being profligate in front of goal.

He continued: “Very much so, I thought along with Guiseley, the best we played – much better than when we played them in the FA Cup.

“Created numerous opportunities, restricted them to very little although they did score a very good goal, that came from a mistake from us.

“Very frustrating we didn’t take at least one of our opportunities but goals change games and once they scored, they sat in and tried to hit us on the counter-attack. Generally performance-wise it was good but we’ve come away with no points and you can’t keep saying that.”

Their efforts to find a striker have yet to bear fruits but Young has called upon the fit again Mo Touray to step up his fitness efforts to heed their goalscoring concerns.

“We’ve got young lads playing up front or lads playing out of position, we’ve been trying everywhere to get a striker in – and I mean everywhere,” he added. “There isn’t a place we have rang, called, it’s morning, noon and night stuff.

“You speak to a lot of managers yourself, there’s a number of them in the same boat trying to do the same thing.

“We signed Mo Touray in the summer, he was our number one signing but he’s had an ankle injury which he’s been concerned about, he’s fit now and when I say he’s fit, he’s now got to go away and get himself physically fit and show the desire and hunger to come in and help the team. 

“What we’ve asked, all the people we’ve asked, the loans, we tried to pay fees for strikers but we just keep getting doors that are shut, we keep going. We’ve got one in the building in Mo, we know his ability.

“He’s now back from his ankle injury now he’s got to get himself fit and do what he was brought in to do at the start of the season and get the goals he’s more than capable than doing.”

Another positive sign for the Mariners is they are welcoming players from the treatment table, as well as the return of James Barrigan who signed on a season-long loan from league rivals Warrington Rylands.

“I’m happy with the lads, I can’t knock their effort and attitude it’s been first-class besides the Rylands game where we looked a little bit jaded.

“We have a lot of injuries, we’ve got lads coming back from injury; Johnny Spittle came back into the side on Tuesday as did Callum Harris.

“We’ve got lads coming back, Mo Touray, I’d like to think he’ll be involved on the bench on Saturday and he will go away from the team to get himself to a level of fitness to compete from the start.

“I’m fairly happy with the squad, we know we need a striker option but we’ve got lads coming back from injury.

“We’ve changed the way we worked in terms of shape, for the first time on Tuesday and I was made up with the lads because we haven’t worked on it long but that process will continue. In terms of performances and everything, I’m very happy with what they’re doing.”

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