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By: Stephen Bateman
Having suffered more postponements than the Virgin rail network, the Mariners will be looking to get their campaign back on track with a visit to deepest Yorkshire as they take on the Blades this Saturday.
After crashing to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Watford a fortnight ago Grimsby boss Lennie Lawrence will be looking for a positive start to a tricky run of three away fixtures in just seven days. As ever, Lennie is philosophical about the task that lies ahead for his squad:
"We won't know what effect the break has had until we get there. But Sheffield have only had one game because their match against Fulham was off," said Lawrence.
"I wouldn't want it to be any longer than two weeks. We had some luck with the Wimbledon game because we were down to the bare bones," he added as he suggested that the recent postponements may well have worked in his favour.
"The aim is to be where we are now after the Fulham game, but because of the two games being postponed, this week's not as significant as it would have been."
Mariners fans will be heartened by the news that midfielder Wayne Burnett looks set to make his first start in over a year after overcoming a troublesome groin injury. It seems that Burnett will replace injured leading scorer Bradley Allen (Achilles) with Town reverting to a four-man midfield. Lawrence will be hoping for an impressive performance from the Wembley hero as he sees him in first team action for the first time since taking the reigns at Blundell Park. Neil Murray, who impressed in a brief spell as a substitute at Watford, is also an absentee due to "personal problems".
|Steve Livingstone and David Nielsen will lead the Grimsby line in Allen's absence. After being denied the opportunity last Saturday to prove that the Messiah can walk on water, Nielsen will be keen to continue developing his love affair with the Grimsby Town fans. It is expected that the front men will be supported by Kevin Donovan who will play in an advanced outside-right position.|
In spite of a recent run that has seen the Blades slip to three consecutive defeats, Sheffield United are not an easy proposition at Bramall Lane, winning six of their home fixtures whilst losing just once. Manager Neil Warnock has been quick to dismiss suggestions that his club is entering a phase of free-fall as he told journalists:
"There definitely isn't any sort of crisis here that's far too strong a word. The lads are in a positive frame of mind, they're still hungry and determined."
Warnock welcomes pacy striker Marcus Bent back to the side after returning from suspension and looks likely to revert to a two-man attack after his unsuccessful experiment with three strikers in the 2-0 defeat at Burnley.
Although Sheffield United will go into the game as favourites, their confidence will be low after recent losses to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, Gillingham (at home) and the Clarets.
Grimsby Town (possible 4-4-2): Coyne, McDermott, Gallimore, Handyside, Groves, Coldicott, Campbell, Burnett, Donovan, Livingstone, Nielsen.
Sheffield United (possible 4-4-2): Tracey, Quinn, Murphy, Brown, Curle, Montgomery, Devlin, Kelly, Woodhouse, Uhlenbeek, Bent.
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