By Liam Chronnell
KARL Marginson has backed comeback kid Stuart Rudd to fire FC United to glory.
Last season's top-scorer returned to action after nearly four months out with a knee injury. Rudd, who struck 46 times last term, needed surgery after tearing his cruciate ligament in October.
But the prolific striker showed he has not lost his goalscoring touch by netting twice in two games after coming on in both games as substitute.
And Marginson believes Rudd, and 25-goal strike partner Rory Patterson, will be vital in the Rebels' pursuit of three trophies.
"The key to success is having goalscorers in the team and in Rory and Ruddy we have two of the best around," said the United boss. "Stuart has scored two in just 40 minutes of football since coming back after coming on as a substitute in both games - that just shows what type of player he is.
"It can be tough coming back from a long-term injury like he has but, hopefully, he can continue in this vain as he gets back to full fitness."
FC, nine points behind leaders Curzon Ashton with two games in hand, will look to extend their five-game winning run at Harrogate Railway Athletic on Saturday.
And the Gigg Lane tenants go into the league clash after maintaining their progress in the cup competitions.
United cruised into to the semi-final of the Manchester FA Premier Cup on Wednesday night following a convincing 4-1 victory at Flixton.
Goals from Patterson, Bradley Howard, Chris Baguley and Rudd helped set up an away tie with Radcliffe Borough or Abbey Hey on Monday, February 11 or Saturday, February 16.
Three days later they booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Presidents Cup after beating Rossendale United for the fourth time this season.
Marginson's men won 2-1 with goals from Patterson and Rudd, again coming off the bench, to set up a trip to Nantwich Town, a game which has been brought forward 24 hours to Friday, February 8 to avoid a clash with Crewe Alexandra's home match with Swansea, on the advice of Cheshire police.
Captain Dave Chadwick made his comeback in last night's friendly with Flixton after suffering the same injury as Rudd, who, along with fellow long-term absentee Josh Howard, also played, in October.
5:03 pm Wednesday 30th January 2008