Marine manager Neil Young has been pleased with the Mariners’ start as they welcome South Shields.
They made it four points from a possible six when they settled for a goalless draw against Lancaster City on Tuesday. But they raised eyebrows on the opening day following their 3-0 win over Guiseley – who were relegated from the National League North last season.
This weekend, they welcome former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips to the Marine Travel Area where his South Shields side eye their second win of the season.
Reflecting on their opening two, Young told Off The Park: “A good start from us, to go to Guiseley who’ve been relegated – and us promoted – to go there, I think they had high hopes.
“To go and win there 3-0 on the opening day is good, the lads done well and worked really hard. Then different type of game on Tuesday, Lancaster at home, who are big, physical, lots of long balls on top of us, long throws but apart from one chance I thought we coped quite well, a different type of game.
“I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t play a little bit more, we got drawn in, a little bit, to their long game ourselves.
“But it was a proper Northern Premier League game, showed another side of us with is good for me because we’ve got a fairly new squad of players but relatively pleased with how we started, a bit like most managers a lot of injuries knocking about and we could do with a few players back but we can’t moan.”
After winning promotion last year, Marine entered the Northern Premier League campaign with a new-look side following a number of exits and arrivals.
“They’ve done really well, we’ve kept two clean sheets, I don’t like to use pre-season as a barometer but we’ve actually kept five clean sheets on the bounce now,” he added when asked about how he feels his side have gelled. “We’re looking better, in midfield we’re looking strong, we just need to be a bit more creative at the top end which we’re trying to do and trying to work on.”
On what he has taken away from their opening two, Young continued: “We’ve proved that we can go to a very good passing side in Guiseley and play a certain way, we’ve then proved on Tuesday night we can compete.
“They’re the two variances in the league, I think, then you’ll come up against those who have different types of variances. South Shields will be a bit more like the Guiseley element but being full-time and together a lot longer than Guiseley, they’ll be very good at it. It’s all different ways, shapes, forms, tactical challenges that we have to deal with.”
“DJ (Djavan Pedro) has come in from Salford, I thought when he come on on Tuesday he was very lively, he’s a confident kid, he’ll add to us. But we’re still looking for one more forward, hoping to add another defender, right-back, in the ranks,” the Marine boss revealed as they have now welcomed Joseph Ferguson to the squad.
“We’ve got a bit of a centre-half curse back at the moment, Hollins longer term, Miley in training and Jonny Spittle is struggling with his groin but it is what is. We’ve got to try get them back as soon as we can along with Billy Smart, Jack Dunn, Mo Touray, just to add a few names to the list because it is more.”
South Shields narrowly missed out on promotion to the National League North as they were pipped to the post by Buxton, last term. They are among the favourites to go one better this time around.
But Young believes that his side will not need motivation going into the match.
“I don’t think they need switching on, the one thing this group has they know the size of each task but we don’t look at teams individually in the league in terms of what they should do, that’s for them to prove out on the pitch.
“All we’ve got to do is it’s another game, another tough opponent. You look at this league, every opponent is tough, I haven’t seen anyone who’s going to get rolled over, these are touch opponents, they play a certain way.
“Full-time, been together in the main for a long time now, we’ve just got to be tactically astute in what we do and more importantly, which we weren’t enough on Tuesday, is cause them more problems at their end,” he concluded.