What Tottenham can expect from Marine in the FA Cup
Tottenham will face Marine on Sunday night in the FA Cup third round as they try to avoid being the recipients of the biggest upheaval in the competition’s history.
Merseyside’s eighth-row part-time team welcome Jose Mourinho’s side to their 3,189-seater home in Rossett Park, having made six appearances to get to this stage of the competition.
So what can Spurs expect from the brave underdogs?
In the FA Cup this season, Marine has traditionally lined up in 4-3-3. Alex Doyle, 19, on loan at Salford City, operated on the base of a midfield triangle but there is doubt for the game after sustaining an ankle injury in Marine’s second round victory against Havant and Waterlooville.
Doyle has not played since, but the club will be hopeful he will be in good shape after agreeing to a loan extension this week.
Club captain Niall Cummins leads the line, and was flanked by speedy Neil Kengni – a former Rochdale academy member – and Momodou Touray on both wings in their previous FA Cup victories. However, Touray will not be involved, having returned to parent club Salford after his loan closes.
Marine is led by Neil Young (not that one). The 45-year-old has previously been tasked with Rhyl, Colwyn, Chester, Stockport, Altrincham and Halifax. He recently put pen to paper on a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the club.
It was in Chester – the Navy club knocked out in this season’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round – where Young enjoyed his greatest success, taking the helm in 2010 as they emerged from the ashes of Chester City following the club’s liquidation order.
Young guided Chester through three successive promotions, winning the Evo-Stik First Division North, Evo-Stik Northern Premier and Conference North, before leaving in 2014.
Marine has proven to be a real setback threat in the FA Cup race this season. The Merseyside team have scored nine goals in their six FA Cup appearances this season – six of which have come from dead ball situations.
Midfielder Josh Hmami, Marine boasts of a true free kick specialist. Academy graduate Accrington Stanley has scored on six straight free kicks this season. Center-back Anthony Miley has also proven to be a goal threat, already scoring five goals this term.
If Marine forces Tottenham to a draw and lead their illustrious Premier League opponents to penalties, then they’ll want their chances, having passed both Runcorn Linnets in the second qualifying round and Colchester in the first round by kicking this season.
Marine has a relatively young squad, with the average age of the starting XI overtaking Havant and Waterlooville in the previous round at just 24 years old. The midfield trio are particularly young, with James Barrigan the oldest of the three at just 22.
This average age of the squad is raised by 35-year-old center-half David Raven – a defender who made three first-team appearances for Liverpool under Rafael Benitez, has represented England at youth level and has substantial experience in the Football League through episodes with Tranmere, Shrewsbury and Carlisle.
Quick forward Neil Kengni has been chosen by teammate James Joyce as Marine’s star performer this quarter, and could cause Spurs problems with his franchise.
Captain Niall Cummins is considered the club’s talisman. A true pillar not a member of the League, the 27-year-old physical education teacher has been called “Harry Kane of the Navy, but without the ability to fire or the pace.” Known for his ability to score goals in the box, Cummins netted the club’s famous winner against Havant and Waterlooville to secure his place in the third round. He is also an Arsenal fan …