By Adele Matthews
Chairman Paul Leary is preparing a “a great adventure” as his Marine side embark on their biggest FA Trophy fixture for 25 years when they lock horns with National League high-fliers Dover Athletic on Saturday.
Leary believes the two-time FA Trophy semi-finalists can look ahead to their 610-mile round trip to Dover Athletic with ‘optimism’ having previously knocked out higher-ranked opposition in FC United and Chorley.
“It will be a great adventure”, the Mariners chief said: “It’s a massive step up for us, they’re two leagues above us and it will be a heck of a challenge for our players”.
The FA Trophy has become a welcome distraction for the Crosby-based side, who are trying to protect a proud league record of never having been relegated in the club’s 124-year existence.
Tommy Lawson’s men have picked up just one point in their last four matches, without scoring, and currently lie fourth-bottom in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier table, seven points clear of basement club Sutton Coldfield Town.
Dover, however, are also struggling for form, without a win in their last five National League matches but Leary expects league form to go out of the window at Crabble on Saturday.
“I think we’ve just got to focus on our own preparations for the game,” he continued: “The manager has had them watched and we’ve watched many match highlights so we feel and think we are well prepared.
“We’ve just got to rise to the occasion, enjoy the weekend and let the football do the talking.”