Report by John Edwards
Picture by Jonathan Moore
Altrincham wrap up their pre-season programme with what is sure to be another tough test against a Manchester United Xl tomorrow, but they will go into the match without Isaac Marriott after it was confirmed the dynamic Alty midfielder faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Isaac played in the 2-0 friendly win at Trafford and was an integral part of an Alty midfield that dominated possession in a free-flowing 5-1 victory over FC Isle of Man in Douglas four days later.
But he had the misfortune to sustain a knee ligament injury in training soon after and has been out of action since.
The good news is that Isaac does not need an operation, but the recuperation period required for a return to full fitness is likely to last for a few months.
It is an unfortunate setback, on the eve of a new season, for the 22-year old Huddersfield Town Academy graduate, who has been a revelation at the heart of Alty’s midfield since arriving from Bradford (Park Avenue) last December.
As with Matty Kosylo, who is also sidelined by a knee ligament injury, everyone at the club looks forward to seeing Isaac back in Alty colours as soon as possible and wishes him a speedy recovery.
In the meantime, there are plenty of reasons for savouring the visit of a United Xl to The J.Davidson Stadium for a 3pm kick-off tomorrow afternoon.
Phil Parkinson and his charges are gearing up for a Vanarama National League launch against Maidstone United at The J.Davidson on Saturday, August 6th, and it will be interesting to see how they fare against what will be pretty much the Old Trafford club’s under-23 team.
It could provide a fascinating insight into the potential at United’s disposal, for one thing, given there are suggestions their line-up may well contain some members of the squad that secured the club’s 11th FA Youth Trophy when they overcame Nottingham Forest 3-1 in the final a few months ago.
Whether Argentina under-20 winger Alejandro Garnacho, who underlined his burgeoning talent with two goals in a man-of-the-match performance in front of over 60,000 fans that night, will be amongst the visitors to Moss Lane remains to be seen. But it is a tantalising possibility.
From an Alty perspective, will we see an early run-out for James Jones, on his return to Phil’s squad, and Alex Samizadeh, whose signing for the Robins was announced in tandem with that of James yesterday?
New keeper Ollie Byrne can expect to be tested by United’s youngsters - could he possibly pull off anything to match the exceptional save he made against Stockport County last Saturday, when he somehow got a hand to a point-blank effort from former Notts County marksman Kyle Wootton?
All will be revealed from 3pm onwards tomorrow, and the club are hoping for another bumper crowd after well over 2,000 made their way down Moss Lane for what proved an extremely competitive and entertaining encounter with Dave Challinor’s National League champions.
If you have already bought a ticket, see you there. If not, there will be the option of paying on the day at the gate, but tickets can still be bought by clicking on the link below.