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Casualties Mount Up

By: Stephen Bateman
Date: 01/12/2000

Mariners boss Lennie Lawrence faces both good and bad news ahead of Saturday's encounter with Crystal Palace. Striker Bradley Allen looks set for a return to first-team duties after showing no ill-effects from his achilles tendon troubles in training, but Steve Livingstone remains a doubt.

Lawrence faces fresh selection problems in defence after it emerged that Livingstone is still feeling the effects of a niggling back injury incurred against Fulham last week. Having undergone further diagnosis on an injured shin, it is a remote possibility that Peter Handyside will feature in the Mariners starting line-up, although he too remains doubtful. With established defenders Richard Smith and Paul Raven missing through injury and makeshift centre-back Paul Groves suspended, it seems almost certain that the promising Matty Bloomer will start in the centre of the Town defence, possibly partnered by Knut Anders Fostervold. On-loan Chinese defender Zhang Enhua is also ruled out as he awaits confirmation of his eligibility. Danny Butterfield continues his struggle to regain fitness after suffering a recurrence of ankle ligament problems sustained against Watford. Meanwhile, midfielder Alan Pouton looks set to return to the squad after a successful comeback in the reserves earlier this week.

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