KEVIN LYNCH admits his Marine squad is being stretched by injuries and suspensions, but says he hopes to add a striker to his ranks in time for this weekend's game with Blyth Spartans.
Lynch could be without as many as five first-team regulars for Saturday's Arriva Stadium clash.
Danny Grannon and Andy Fowler both limped out of Tuesday night's Liverpool Senior Cup quarter final defeat against Southport, and could join Ryan McMahon and Paul Lundon on the injured list.
Midfielder Jon Goulding, meanwhile, is suspended.
The Mariners have signed versatile defender Philip Ojapah, who made his debut for the club in the 1-1 draw with Ilkeston last weekend, and Lynch is hopeful of adding another face to his squad in time for Blyth's visit.
“We've got a few injuries to crucial players,” he said. “So we want to add to the squad if we can. Hopefully it's just a case of paperwork with one player, and he can come in and boost us for Saturday.”
Lynch believes his side showed great character despite defeat to Southport.
With Grannon and Fowler forced off early on, Marine were 2-0 down after 23 minutes to the Blue Square Bet Premier outfit, but fought back late on with goals from top scorer Nick Rogan and a superb Liam Rice free-kick. Paul Brown's penalty miss, however, meant they lost 5-3 in a shootout.
“I don't think we played as well as we could have in all honesty,” admitted Lynch. “But what impressed me was the way we battled and fought back in the second half.
“We were a lot brighter, and we showed the character I know we have got in abundance. It's a bit disappointing to lose on penalties, especially at home in a quarter final, but we can take a lot from the way we performed, particularly in the second half.”
Lynch is anticipating a tough test against Blyth. The North East side are currently mid-table in the Evo-Stik Premier Division table, and earned a 3-3 draw when the sides met back in September.
“It will be difficult, no doubt,” he said. “But they've got a long way to travel, so if we can make sure we start well and put them on the back foot, then we can get at them.
“We've just got to stay on the coat tails of the leading pack, especially at this time of season. I was a bit disappointed we didn't get all three points against Ilkeston last weekend, but every team will drop points in this league, we know that.
“We've just got to keep going and doing the things we know we're good at.”