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Match Previews

Match preview - Town head to Grimsby in final fixture before Christmas

21 December 2023

Match Previews

Match preview - Town head to Grimsby in final fixture before Christmas

21 December 2023

Buoyed by last weekends impressive 3-1 win at home to Notts County, Town are on the road this weekend, kicking off a run of four games over the next 10 days.

And with plenty of points on offer Simon Weaver’s side know that a strong return heading into 2024 could see them challenging amongst the sides in the top half of the table.

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Our opponents

This is the second season back in the EFL for the Mariners after they spent a season in the National League following relegation in 2020/21, bouncing back via the playoffs at the first attempt.

Last season saw them return a creditable 11th place finish, also reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, knocking out a string of higher ranked sides along the way.

Coming into the game they are in 18th spot, three points behind Town on the back of a run of six games without defeat. Their home form has seen them take a return of five wins and eighteen points from 11 games, including a 2-1 win against Crewe last time out.

Previous meetings

The two clubs met three times in the 2020/21 season. After a 2-2 draw in the Papa Johns Trophy thanks to a late Kevin Lokko strike Grimsby took the bonus point courtesy of a 5-4 shoot-out win.

Town would triumph in both league meetings though, winning 2-1 at Blundell Park thanks to a Jack Muldoon brace and won by a solitary goal in the return fixture when Mark Beck struck fifteen minutes from time.

After a season long break the two sides next met in 2022/23. The Boxing Day encounter was a thrilling affair that saw Town twice come from behind to snatch an injury time winner.

Otis Khan had cancelled out Luke Armstrong’s early strike before Harry Clifton put the visitors ahead early in the second half. Armstrong netted again to level on 75 minutes before a Max Crocombe own goal from Kayne Ramsay’s shot won the points for Town.

The two sides then played out a goalless draw at Blundell Park last February.

The man in charge

David Artell is a new face on the bench having being appointed at the end of November following the departure of Paul Hurst.

Artell previously managed Crewe for five years, winning 100 games during his time in charge before departing the club in April 2022. Artell also played for the Railwaymen for two seasons as well as having spells at the likes of Morecambe, Port Vale, Chester and Mansfield.

Ones to watch

Danny Rose leads the scoring charts with seven goals this season, with both Abou Eisa and Donovan Wilson close behind with six goals.

Gavan Holohan has three goals and four assists and despite a goal return not matching that of last season Harry Clifton will likely be a threat from midfield.

Niall Maher is a veteran presence at the heart of the defence and he has formed an ever present partnership at the back with Harvey Rodgers, who arrived from Accrington in the summer.

History

The club was formed back in 1878 and moved to their current home, Blundell Park, in 1898. They joined the Football League in 1892 and saw their most successful period between the First and Second World Wars when they spent a decade in the top division.

From the 1950’s onwards the club spent much of the next couple of decades alternating between the second and third divisions, being relegation to the bottom tier in 1968. The club were promoted back to the third division twice during the 1970’s.

The early 1980’s saw them back in the second tier, with a fifth-placed finish in 1984 but an end of season slump in 1987 saw them fall back into Division Three.

Financial problems hit the club at the start of the current century and they would ultimately be relegated out of the league in 2010, where they would remain for six seasons.

The Mariners have notable former managers in Bill Shankly and Lawrie McMenemy, but the most successful was Alan Buckley who led the club to three promotions and two Wembley appearances in his three spells between 1988 and 2008.

Team news

Town continue to be without Mark Oxley, Jonathan Mitchell, Toby Sims and Rod McDonald, but will be hoping that both James Daly and Sam Folarin are ready to return to contention.


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