Everton and Liverpool lend helping hand to minnows Marine ahead of FA Cup clash with Tottenham

Jurgen Klopp Carlo Ancelotti Liverpool Everton 2020-21
The non-league side were briefly left with nowhere to train before the Merseyside giants stepped in

Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool have stepped in to help local minnows Marine prepare for their huge FA Cup tie against Tottenham on Sunday by letting the non-league side use their training grounds.

There are 161 places between Premier League giants Spurs and Northern Premier League Division One side Marine, the biggest gap between sides in the FA Cup’s 150-year history.

If Marine's task on Sunday wasn't tough enough, their preparations for the game have been hampered by inclement weather combined with new coronavirus restrictions.

Freezing temperatures meant Neil Young’s side have been unable to train on their usual outdoor pitches this week, while the new national lockdown in the UK has forced indoor venues to close.

That left the players with nowhere to train until their Merseyside neighbours Everton and Liverpool, whose stadiums are less than six miles from Marine’s Rossett Park ground, allowed them to use their first-class facilities.

"We have had a few issues, certainly since the new lockdown, in terms of training venues," Young told reporters. "Our pitch, where we were due to train on Thursday, had to be covered earlier in the week due to frost, but the leisure centres that we would normally use have been closed because of lockdown.

"So we are very thankful to Everton, who stepped in on Thursday and allowed us to use their Finch Farm training ground at the last minute, and Liverpool, who have also allowed us to use their training ground on Saturday.

"We are just glad they could step in. We are preparing for the biggest game in our history against one of the top sides in the country, but at 3pm on Thursday, we had nowhere to train, so we're very grateful that the two clubs have been able to step in.

"Without their help, we could have been going into the game with very little preparation, other than what we can do on a tactics board and the playing of a video."

With coronavirus cases on the rise across the country, Young admits it has been hard to prepare the players while complying with Covid-19 regulations.

Marine’s part-time status means the players, who are all due to be tested for Covid-19 in the next 24 hours, have to juggle training sessions with other jobs in various locations and settings.

That also applies to Young, who is a facilities manager for the local railway network, though he is not going to let the logistics detract from the excitement surrounding the tie.

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"From a part-time perspective, it's been a bit of a nightmare with the Covid regulations," he added.

"At this round of the competition, you are allowed to have nine substitutes, but I don't think we have enough players to name nine. That's the reality for us.

"But we are coming up against a formidable side, coached by one of the greatest managers in the history of the game and a team of world-class players including many international captains. It is dream time for us."