Marine manager Neil Young has expressed his delight at the progression of the club as they gear up for their Northern Premier League return against Guiseley.
Two divisions separated the teams prior to the Mariners promotion and Guiseley’s subsequent relegation from the National League North.
Since Marine were last in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the club embarked on a famous FA Cup run which springboarded them into the spotlight.
Neil Young notes that the opinion going into the campaign will be that the Northern Premier League West playofff winners may be negative. But he insists that he is looking to prove them wrong – starting with the trip to West Yorkshire.
“It’s a tough place to go, last season we were two divisions apart, now we’re in the same division,” he told Off The Park.
“Good side, new manager, fairly big turnover of players like ourselves. They’ve got some players, ones that we know about, we’ve had them watched and they’ve done well in their games.
“Every game in this league is going to be tough. We’ve been promoted as play-off winners so we’ll probably start in people’s minds at the bottom end, we’ve got change that perception and hopefully we’ll be able to change that.
“But the only way you change perception is by playing football matches, we’re all great managers without football being played.
“They’ll be keen to get off to a flyer, they were relegated last year and if I remember rightly, last minutes of games.
“It’s not about them, we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves whether it’d be Guiseley Saturday, Lancaster City Tuesday, it’s all about us and what we be bring to the table. I’m happy with the commitment, attitude of our players – it’s starting to come together.
“I’m sure, like us Guiseley, we’ll be trying to bring that team bonding and work ethic together, I’m very happy with ours. I don’t worry too much about them, every team in this league is going to be a challenge, we’ve got to make sure we’re the same for them.
“I’m probably getting a little bit old to be getting excited but I’m looking forward to it, it’s good.
“It’s a new challenge. I’m happy for the club, we got relegated three or four years ago and since then, there’s been a massive turnaround, we’ve had an FA Cup run that you dream about – to get to the third round – and we’ve been promoted.
“We’ve had a fantastic couple of years but we can’t rest on our laurels now and take that forward even further.”
This week there have further additions at the Marine Travel Arena. Hayden Campbell put pen-to-paper on a deal with the Mariners following his release from Salford City FC.
Promising attacker Xenon Bahula also signed terms after impressing for City of Liverpool and Steven Gerrard Academy during his first season in men’s football.
“We’ve signed lads with the new league in mind and making sure they’ve played at this level or above, in most cases, there’s a handful of lads who’ve come up with us,” he added.
“But I’ve got no doubts that the players we’ve got, great attitudes, we’ll never know where we’re at as a team until we play football and that comes on Saturday.”
But ahead of their trip to Guiseley, Young is sweating over the fitness of three of his key men.
He revealed: ”I don’t think there’s any outgoings because I don’t think there was many to outgo but we’ve got Josh Solomon-Davies back from St Lucia.
“He’s now signed back for the new season, Andy Hollins is out for a while. If a good wide player with pace becomes available or a big target man then we’ll look at it but generally, fairly happy with what we’ve got.”
Jack Dunn was forced off in their final friendly against City of Liverpool and it looks like a period out for the former Liverpool youngster.
He said: “Tight hamstring, recurrence of what he had two weeks ago probably. Will know more after training but I don’t think he’ll be fit for the weekend.
“Alex Doyle will be a late check, he got a neck injury against Runcorn Linnets – he missed Saturday, we’re hopeful but we’ll see. Mo Touray went over on his ankle on Saturday, he’ll miss training and hopeful for the weekend.”