FA Cup heroes Marine await Bradford (Park Avenue)


IN January, Non-League club Marine were gearing up for an opportunity of a lifetime.

The Merseyside club completed the task of reaching the FA Cup third round, a feat that all semi-professional clubs dream of accomplishing at some point in their history.

Not only that, they welcomed Premier League giants, Tottenham Hotspur, to Rossett Park who had the likes of Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli within their ranks on the day.

But the Liverpool outfit face a much different proposition on Saturday (tomorrow), travelling to Bradford (Park Avenue) in the second round of the FA Trophy, but they still pose a real challenge for Marine.

That is because Bradford are a National League North side, while Marine are two steps below in the NPL West Division.

Marine are flying high at the top of their division in first place and are on an eye-catching unbeaten run.

And because of that, Bower insists his side must not underestimate their lower league opposition.

He said: “I think you only have to look at their record to suggest it will be a tight game and we are going to have to be at our best.

“They’ve won eight league games in a row, they’ve knocked out higher league opposition in the past couple of seasons and of course, they famously managed to get into the FA Cup third round last season.

“So, they’ve got a real pedigree about them as a club for going on great cup runs and causing upsets, but their league performances this year also suggest that they’ve got a great team for the level they’re at.

“There won’t be much in it, it will be a really tough game and we will definitely need to be at our best.”

Bower added: “The experience they have of playing against Spurs will give them confidence going into any cup competition going forward.

“They’ll be looking at us and thinking it’s another opportunity for them to beat another team from a higher league. They’re at the top of their league, we are towards the bottom of our league, so there isn’t a great deal between the two sides.

“It’s got all the ingredients for a cup upset and it’s almost guaranteed that there will be a few of those across the second round this weekend.”

Avenue may have to go into this fixture with a threadbare squad, given the injuries suffered in last week’s tie against Farsley Celtic.

Bower said: “We had a pretty awful weekend against Farsley in relation to injuries. We lost Reece Staunton late on, we lost Mitchell Lund in the game, we lost Adam Nowakowski and Nicky Clee was also playing at 70% fitness.

“It means we will have to get them patched up and make a few late calls on who’s fit.”





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