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Margy ponders defensive line-up for final attack

Margy ponders defensive line-up for final attack

Manager Karl Marginson is confident Rochdale youth team defender Kevin Masirika can go down in FC United folklore by helping the Reds win promotion to the Conference North on Saturday afternoon in what could be only his second ever - and possibly final - appearance for the club.

With FC United brushing aside Witton Albion with such tenacity in the play-off semi-final on Tuesday night, Margy would probably be expected to pick the same 11 players to take on Hednesford Town at Keys Park in the Evo-Stik play-off final. However, the manager will be forced to make one change due to centre-back Lewis Lacy being stretchered off in the 3-1 victory with a bad gash to the leg.

The most likely replacement is on-loan Masirika who made his debut for the club just two weeks ago at Rushall Olympic. Margy said: “I’ve got every confidence in Kevin. We tried him out at Rushall and he showed that he is more than capable. I expect it to be a similar type of game on Saturday, so Kevin can easily come in for Lewis and do the job.”

Bringing in Masirika, who may return to Rochdale over the summer, is not the only option for Margy though. Following Lacy’s injury on Tuesday, Lee Neville moved to partner Dean Stott at centre-half with Jerome Wright filling at left-back and captain Kyle Jacobs continuing at right-back. Obviously, starting with this back-four is another option and if Margy does opt to go for Neville in the centre, he has players such as Jake Cottrell and Scott Cheetham who have also played well at left-back previously.

Everyone at FC United is hoping that it is third time lucky after losing 1-0 in the play-off final for the last two seasons running against Colwyn Bay and Bradford Park Avenue. However, we couldn’t really face tougher opponents because Hednesford, who missed out on this season’s title on goal difference to North Ferriby, are themselves competing in the play-offs for the fourth consecutive season.

The Pitmen lost 2-0 Chippenham Town in the Southern Premier semi-final in 2010, and a year later the Staffordshire club made it to the final only to be beaten in a penalty shootout at home to Salisbury City, whilst last season they were comprehensively beaten at Bradford Park Avenue 5-0 in the semi-final.

The good news is; FC United do have a physcological advantage over Hednesford with three wins, two draws and one defeat being the standings of the previous encounters between the clubs. The results at Keys Park are currently even – with one win each and one draw.

In March 2009, FC United salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw, when Simon Garner scored a spectacular free-kick in the closing seconds. Exactly three years later, the Reds got off to a flyer, Adam Jones heading in a Neville corner after three minutes and Neville increased the lead on 12 minutes, heading in a Stephen Johnson cross. The Pitmen responded after 59 minutes when Jermaine Johnson headed in a corner but the hosts second half pressure failed to yield an equaliser. Our last visit in December also produced a tight contest, which was settled 1-0 via an Elliott Durrell penalty in the 67th minute.

Of course though, everything that has gone on before will go out of the window tomorrow and count for nothing. For the third season running, FC United of Manchester are just 90 minutes away from promotion to the Conference North. Will it be third time lucky? Get yourself to that football ground to find out. It’s pay-on-the-gate.

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First Posted ~ 19:22 Fri 10 May 2013
News ID ~ 4905
Last Updated ~ 20:56 Sun 12 May 2013