With only six games remaining in our Blue Square Bet Premier season, goalkeeper Alan Marriott has admitted that he is “desperate” to win the first promotion of his long career.
The Bedford-born custodian started out in the academy ranks at Tottenham Hotspur in the late 1990’s, before embarking on a lengthy spell at Lincoln City and later, Rushden & Diamonds.
However, in his 16 years as a professional, and despite having featured in no fewer than six separate Play-Off campaigns, Marriott is incredibly yet to have won promotion.
But should our team obtain the 11 more points that would seal a return to the Football League, it would mean absolutely everything for our evergreen shot-stopper.
“I’ve never wanted anything more than to get promoted,” said Marriott.
“Forget about money or going away on holiday, [promotion] is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m desperate to do it.
“I got my chance to play against Liverpool in the Third Round of the FA Cup, and that was something I wanted to tick off my list, but promotion is something I miss and crave for.
“It’d be amazing [to win the title]. No one is money-orientated; the drive and desire and everything that comes with getting promoted would be a fantastic achievement.”
Marriott continued: “It’s nerve-wracking and I’ve never stared at a football table so much in my life. You work out all the different permutations, but there’s a lot more twists and turns that’s going to happen.
“Obviously we’d like to get as many points as possible from the next two games.
“When you look at the fixtures that we’ve got, Wrexham will be hoping the two games against us can help to bring them back into the automatic promotion mix.
“For Wrexham it’s a game they need to win. I think anything less than a victory is probably going to rule them out, so I expect they’ll come at us all guns blazing.
“Barrow will be a wounded beast after the scoreline against them earlier in the season. Both teams have got incentives to do well against us and they will want to stop our run.
“So, as much of a cliché as it is, we’ve got to approach each game at a time, and try to go [to Wrexham] and get stuck in, and try to get a positive result.”
He added: “With only one team going up [automatically], you’ve got to be at the top of your game, and giving 110%, no matter how drained or tired you might feel.”
Whilst goals have been flowing at one end of the pitch in recent weeks (our team have scored on 91 occasions this term), our shot-stopper has been in equally impressive form.
Marriott registered his third consecutive clean sheet in Easter Monday’s home victory over Gateshead, which was also his 50th in Mansfield Town colours.
“Apart from the Grimsby game, which was my busiest one, I’ve not had a great deal to do” continued Marriott.
“The lads have been solid infront. We’ve got a good unit with good communication skills, and the lads who’ve come in, such as Greg [Taylor] at left-back have done very well.
“People have always said that the mark of a good goalkeeper is having nothing to do for 85 minutes, and then having to make a save in the final few minutes.
“If its 0-0 at that stage and you get a point that ultimately wins you promotion, you can actually be a hero and contribute towards something at the end of the season.”