Neil Young makes Marine playoff claim ahead of Guiseley challenge

Neil Young speaking after Radcliffe loss

Neil Young insists the playoff race is still in their hands as Marine go toe-to-toe with playoff rivals Guiseley. 

The Mariners are level on points with the West Yorkshire side but Saturday’s opponents have a game in hand. Gabriel Johnson scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture as the Nethermoor Park side inflicted defeat in a rare miserable night this season.

The playoff race is wide open in the Northern Premier League. Hyde United are above Warrington Rylands on goal difference, while Young’s side are four points behind. As well as looking up, there are a number of clubs looking to unseat the Merseyside club.

Guiseley (55 points), Macclesfield (53), Lancaster City (50), Worksop Town (49) and Ashton United (49) are all within touching distance of Marine (55). With a weekend off, due to the withdrawal of Marske United, results sparked movement around the Mariners but Young says their focus must remain on getting results.

“There’s lots of big games but we can’t worry about other teams,” he told Off The Park. “People say: ‘a bad weekend for you’ or ‘a good weekend for you’, I’m a great believer that it’s in our hands and if we win eight games of football, we get into the playoffs. 

“The points tally over the years tells you that, ultimately it’s in our hands and I’m not saying we’re going to win eight games of football because there’s a lot of difficult games, difficult away games and our away form has to improve if we are going to be in the playoffs. 

“All I have to do is worry about us, our next game and our next game is Guiseley, which is a tough encounter in itself. I can’t worry about what other teams do, we have to worry about what we can do and we have to try to make us better to give us the best opportunity to win football matches.”

Andy Welsh’s side have quietly gone about business in recent weeks and with nine games remaining, the Lions find themselves in the playoffs. Young is expecting a close encounter between the two clubs with the possibility of a style of play clash going into the playoff showdown.

He continued: “Guiseley have always had a good set of players, I still believe that now. When they beat us there, in the first-half, there wasn’t much in it – we were one-nil up, comfortably and conceded a sloppy goal. 

“They picked us apart and we were poor in the second-half, one of the worst performances of the season, we’ve got to make sure we put that right. 

“They’re strong, on the front-foot, they’ve got good technical players and it’s a real tough game. Every team has a different ways of playing and I think Guiseley are the closest to us with how they play.”

Only Radcliffe have taken more points away from home than Marine this season (37) as they look to continue their impressive home form. Boro and Worksop are among those in the top seven to suffer defeat on their visit to Crosby this season – while Macclesfield and Hyde are among the three clubs to have taken the points from Rossett Park. 

Marine have been a “different animal” since their tweak at the turn of the year, Young says, and he is looking for his side to put on a performance – with the help of the fans – to push them closer to their playoff aspirations.

“We’ve beaten Radcliffe at home, beaten Worksop Town home and away, Macclesfield have beaten us by the odd-goal, it’s tight and close but we’ve been a different animal since Christmas after we made changes,” he continued. 

“We’ve got to keep on doing what we’re doing, (against) Radcliffe and Macclesfield, (they were) two good performances against good opposition but we’ve got to do better at both end and come out with the points. This weekend will be similar, we’ll need the fanbase to be behind and give us a push towards the playoffs.”

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