‘There will be twists’ – Marine boss Neil Young expects busy title battle

Marine celebrate against Kendal Town

Marine manager Neil Young has emphasised the importance of the final nine matches as they sit three points off leaders Warrington Rylands.

The Mariners confirmed the signings of Jack Dunn and Luke Clark as Young hailed the two additions as statements of intent bringing National League North quality at an important stage of the season.

Dunn, the former Liverpool academy product, scored a hat-trick in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Burscough as he adapted to his new surroundings.

Only Workington have played less than them out of the top five teams but Marine still have two games over the pace-setters.

Ahead of their clash with Northwich but Young, who is experienced in play-off and title run-ins, has outlined their focus.

He told Off The Park: “I’d like to think so [statement of intent signings] I’ve said all along, there’s no point bringing players in to add numbers, you’ve got to try and improve.

“We’ve got a good squad, who’ve done fantastically well over a long time playing a lot of football. I think we’ve played over 40 games now with the cup runs we’ve had. It’s about quality now,  at this stage of this season and I’d like to think [they are].

“We’ve been waiting and waiting, hopefully, we’ve found the right ones, I’m sure they’ll add to what we’ve got. We’ve got to look at the games, we’ve got to look at how much football Jack’s not played much since Christmas, same with Luke as well.

“We have to be careful with them, I’ve said all along at this stage you need experience but good lads, attitudes. We’re fairly young in most areas, Like will bring that and Jack will bring a bit of swaz if you like, that different maker, set pieces, goals, his quality in the final third – something we’ve been missing slightly. Two good players to add to the group we’ve already got. 

“Give everyone at least 45 minutes, it was good, good stuff. Fitted in well. We put them in second half so they could get a look first-half, they trained with us once, they’re still getting to know people, what their strengths are.

“Alex McNally he’s done well, he’s been recalled for this run-in, Burscough very complimentary of his spell there. 

“We’ve got a couple of injuries, Danny Shaw, Alex Doyle, Josh Solomon-Davis not far away and Joe White’s got a knock on his leg, one we need to look at.

“All being well and we don’t lose anyone else, bar Dean Winnard (suspended), hopefully a week on Saturday we have a full squad again and that’s when the headaches really start.”

Young added: “It’s a big nine games. It’s a nine-game season ultimately, we’ve got to try come out on top of that so if there’s one or two players who can strengthen us, if one or two become available, we’ll definitely look at it. I’m happy with it at the minute, it’s about getting everyone fit. 

“We watched Northwich last week, very good for large periods of time in the game. We know Bootle are a good side, second half they come out and put them to the sword. But they’re a good side. The next ones Northwich, we’ve got to win it but not to a point we’re desperate.

“We’ve got to do it in a controlled manner, through our football not too uptight to the point of the desperation stage. It’s exciting I’m sure for the neutral, many fans, we’ve just got to look at the next game. You’ve seen the results over the last few weeks, Widnes beating Workington, anyone can beat anyone in this league.

“We need to do make sure we do our bit because I’m sure there will be twists and turns as we go along. Out of the top four, they’ve all got to play each other at some stage, we don’t play Warrington but someone has to play someone, we have to play Leek, Workington and I think the others have to play so there will be twists and turns.”

[Featured image: Karl Dunkerley]

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