Manchester are back in Super League action this weekend, on the agenda this time round is an away trip up north where Newcastle await on Sunday.
The Blues have been on a run of bad form lately, a 2-2 draw against Southend and a 5-3 defeat away to York City have effectively become a bump in the road for Manchester’s season.
Saldana’s men find themselves sixth in the table with a game in hand to fifth-placed Oxford City FC Lions and with York City hot on their tails in seventh.
Their opponents have had a tricky first season in the Super League, with a 4-3 defeat to Southend in their last game, it will be an occasion where they will be wanting to make amends.
The two sides played each other earlier on in the season at the Velodrome, the Blues were the victors that day with a 4-3 win, and it was another brace from Joaquin ‘Kimet’ Garcia that helped his side across the line. Giles Collier and skipper Sam Richardson also contributed to Manchester’s success that day.
After coming through the trickiest period of the campaign relatively unscathed, Head Coach Sergi Saldana spoke to Manchesterfutsal.com and gave his thoughts on the goings on during the recent weeks and his optimism going into Sunday’s game.
“Lately we’ve had various injuries with our first team players. Against Southend we had six first players unavailable, and against York we had seven first team players unavailable.
“Kingy [Raducio] suffered with a knee injury against York, and Peyman got injured during Tuesday’s training session.
“It's a shame we can't offer our best game because we are playing without plenty of important players. The positive spin on that is, despite of this lack of players of first team, we are still competing.”
Saldana continued as he spoke glowingly about the progress that his young players have made this season and how they’ve really stepped up to the plate and believes that it’s something that the club can be proud of.
“In these games Kai Bone, Scott Thompson, Jake Barnes, Harry Tozer and Raphe Barber are playing to compensate these absences. Don't forget that most of them are 16-17 years old so it's something we can be proud of if we are competing until the last second with very young players that are playing between 8-12 minutes each. Raphe for example, played 17 minutes in the last game.
“In the end, we are talking about players that one year ago, weren't competing in a league every weekend, were training once per week and playing friendlies on the odd occasion. The change is very big, but they are training very well, and they are adapting step by step to the league but it's a very heavy change.
“So, in summary, we can be happy with the experience that these young players are having in the National Super League, clearly, they are the future of the club."
Saldana continued, “we could have fought for second or third position, but we know it's going to be very difficult because of all of the injury problems we’ve had. We are lucky because we have a very good development team and this year, we set out to use the same training methods during both first and development team sessions.
“This allow us to pick young players for training when we need them, but also for those games where we have plenty of players unavailable.”
The Spaniard concluded with what he wanted to get out of his side’s trip to Tyneside on Sunday.
“I expect the same. Despite the injuries, we have to be positive and give our best account to compete all game and to come back home with the three points.”
Manchester will face Newcastle on Sunday at 1pm, with the game taking place at Walbottle Campus in Tyneside.