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United groomed for Marine reception

The new season in the freshly rebranded Evo-Stik League gets underway this weekend as FC United start proceedings with a Sunday afternoon trip to Merseyside to take on Marine. Craig Phillips provides this preview"¦

The Reds begin their sixth campaign in positive mood after a successful pre-season saw them go undefeated in their last seven games, a run which culminated with the 7-2 win away to New Mills on Tuesday where new signing Mike Norton got his first hat-trick for the club.

Manager Karl Marginson will be looking for the team to take this form into the beginning of the season and get off to a good start in their third attempt at gaining promotion from the Northern Premier Division. His assistant Roy Soule is confident that United can start by taking all three points.

Soule vowed: "We always show our opponents respect but we are confident in our own abilities. There’s a great team spirit and the players have been working very hard during the pre-season. Perhaps what is the most pleasing is that we are keeping our shape a lot better, we’re not letting opponents drag us out of position and that’s a big improvement."??

United have a virtually clean bill of health going into the game so Margy will be able to select his best men and the starting eleven should not alter too much from the team selection in pre-season. Other than long-term absentee Ludovic Quistin, who is recovering from a knee operation, the Reds should only be missing new striker Colin Little who is still a couple of weeks away from the threshold of full fitness.

Sunday’s opponents are a team United got four points from in the league last season. A 3-0 home win in August (goals from Rob Nugent, Ben Deegan and Jamie Mack) was followed by a 1-1 draw at the Arriva Stadium in April when a 95th minute goal for the home team cancelled out David Chadwick’s first half effort.

The win and the draw last season followed two fiery victories for United in the 2008/2009 season, which means after four meetings the Reds hold three wins out of four over their counterparts.

The Mariners themselves were originally formed in 1894, and hold the record for the longest serving post-war manager with Roly Howard being in charge for an amazing 1,975 games over a 33-year period.

The club became members of the Northern Premier League in 1979, and have won the league championship in both 1994 and 1995. The Mariners have also won the league cup in 1985, 1992 and 2003.

In the past few years, the club has had some good seasons in the league, reaching the play-offs twice in 2005 and 2006 but that success couldn’t be built on and last season the team finished 9th in the league, four places above United.

It’s been a mixed bag of results for the Mariners in pre-season with 3-2 defeats to Tranmere Rovers and Wigan Athletic, before a good 1-0 win over Chester City and they finished last weekend with a 2-2 draw at Prescot Cables.

The Mariners have been tipped to be pushing for promotion this season and they will obviously be looking to get off to a good start. Manager Kevin Lynch will be hoping the signing of attacker Kevin Leadbetter from Conference North side, Droylsden can spear head an assault on the summit of the league.

Marine versus FC United of Manchester is this Sunday with kick-off at 3pm at the Arriva Stadium, Crosby. It’s pay on the gate with prices at £9 for adults and £5 for senior citizens and children.

First Posted ~ 11:31 Fri 20 Aug 2010
News ID ~ 3036
Last Updated ~ 02:52 Tue 16 Feb 2021