By Matt Badcock
TOMMY LAWSON says Marine will dare to dream when they make the long trek to face Dover Athletic in the FA Trophy in the New Year.
The Evo-Stik Premier club pulled off one of the upsets of the round by beating Chorley to reach the last 32 of the Non-League’s premier cup competition.
It was the second National League North scalp from Lawson’s side after beating FC United and now they’ve got the high-flying National League Whites in their sights.
Lawson was in charge of Skelmersdale when they had a big tie at Luton Town in 2013 and the experienced boss says everyone at Marine is looking forward to a day out in Kent.
“They’re experiences aren’t they?” Lawson told The NLP. “It’s not very often the opportunities come along to do these things. When they do show themselves, you’ve got to embrace them.
“It’s Non-League’s equivalent of the FA Cup, it’s our big trophy, our big catch. It’s where all teams can dream.
“If you can get through a couple of rounds in the FA Cup, you can make a few bob. But you’ve only got to look at the Burscoughs of the world who have actually achieved in the Trophy and see it’s possible – it’s cup football!
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be a massive ask. But so was Chorley, so was FC United. And this young squad is gaining in confidence all the time.
“So let’s go and enjoy ourselves and see where it takes us. We said before the other two games that we felt we had a puncher’s chance. That’s cup football – it always gives you something. It’s a chance to put Marine on the map and that will be great.”
Marine will set off at 10am on the Friday morning for their first overnight stay since 1980. More than 250 fans backed them at Chorley and they’re expecting to take over 100 to Crabble.
“The interest around the club is fantastic,” Lawson said. “It’s really exciting times. The FC United game at our place kicked it off and then we followed that up with the Chorley game.
“It’s new territory for a lot of people at Marine and there’s been a lot of organisation going on. The players are looking forward to it – it’s a reward for our two big wins.
“It’s a long trip and the lads will have to prepare properly for it with a day off work. We’re not full-time and they will have to beg, steal and borrow to get it off.
“But it’s great to test yourself against these sides. It’s a good opportunity for us. We’ve got some good young lads and I think it’s beneficial they showcase themselves as high as possible.”