Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Stephen Bateman
How can Grimsby possibly follow the trials, the tribulations and the sheer exhileration of Wednesday night's decision by the NELC to approve the club's stadium proposal? Simple - we're off to the sunny Wirral on Saturday!
The Mariners injury woes show no sign of abating just yet. After returning to action only last week, Bradley Allen will certainly miss the clash with ankle problems, as will Richard Smith and Paul Raven. Alan Pouton is also unlikely to figure in Grimsby's plans after suffering a recurrence of an earlier knee injury. Steve Livingstone and Peter Handyside are only rated as 50/50 for the clash, with Danny Butterfield and Tony Gallimore also doubtful.
Once again, Mariners boss Lennie Lawrence (pictured) faces a quandary as to who will fill the central defensive slots. Skipper Paul Groves returns to the side after a suspension, and it seems likely that he will partner any one of Livingstone, Handyside or, most likely, on-loan Dutchman Menno Willems. The aerial threat posed by Tranmere may also bring youngster Matthew Bloomer into the picture once again.
Lawrence faces another nightmare in deciding who should partner David Nielsen in the Mariners attack. With Allen injured and Daryl Clare out on-loan at Northampton, the Grimsby boss appears to have limited options. After scoring his first goal for the club against Crystal Palace on Saturday, the most likely candidate as a foil for the Dane appears to be former Kilmarnock and Fortuna Sittard striker, Michael Jeffrey.
Should Jeffrey be given the nod, he will be keen to impress upon returning to his native Merseyside, as will goalkeeper Danny Coyne. The Welsh international has been one of the Mariners most impressive performers this season and will be looking to prove a point after being released on a free transfer by current Tranmere boss, John Aldridge.
Coyne had a game that he would probably rather forget on his last visit to Prenton Park and he admitted that he would be "looking to put that right this time".
John Aldridge's men go into Saturday's game in desperate need of three points, as they look to halt their slide towards the foot of the table. After weathering previous storms at the helm of the Rovers, Aldridge (pictured) finds himself under pressure once again as his team continue to under-achieve.
In a bid to improve recent fortunes, the Prenton Park boss secured the signature of former Evertonian Daniel Amokachi earlier this week. The Nigerian international has joined Rovers on a trial basis, but is not expected to play a part in Saturday's fixture.
Thomas Myrhe, also an ex-Evertonian has been in impressive form in the Tranmere goal recently, and he will be hoping that defender Clint Hill's absence through suspension will not make his job any harder against the Mariners. Long-throw specialist Dave Challinor also misses out with a broken leg.
Hill misses out through suspension after amassing an incredible ten bookings in just four months. It is a measure of the Whites' current problems that Hill's absence also deprives them of their leading scorer this season. Aldridge himself will be forced to watch the game from the stands as he also serves a suspension.
It seems likely that either Steve Yates or Graham Allen will replace Hill at the back.
Historically, this fixture has always provided goals, and with Grimsby's recent defensive frailties, there is nothing to suggest that this shouldn't be the case on Saturday. The last five meetings at Prenton Park have produced sixteen goals, with Tranmere winning three of the matches to the Mariners two.
Looking ahead to the game, Grimsby skipper Paul Groves commented:
"At Tranmere, we know it will be tough. Both sides are in the bottom half and need a good result. They are a strong side and will be direct - we must stand up to them and we must give them something to think about as well."
Meanwhile, Tranmere striker Paul Rideout had this to offer:
"A draw for either side is no good really - even at this early stage of the season. We're suffering from an inability to put our chances away, but sooner or later we are going to score a hatful against somebody."
With Grimsby's inability to defend against a direct aerial threat, that somebody may well be the Mariners, although Rovers will also be concerned over the recent form of Lennie Lawrence's free-scoring attack.
Grimsby Town: Coyne, McDermott, Groves, Willems, Fostervold, Coldicott, Campbell, Burnett, Nielsen, Donovan, Jeffrey, Butterfield, Gallimore, D Smith, Bloomer, Croudson.
Tranmere Rovers: Myhre, Roberts, Hazell, Hinds, Parkinson, Koumas, Flynn, Rideout, S Taylor, Allison, Murphy, Yates, Gill, Henry, Hume.
For a complete list of fixtures between the Mariners and Tranmere click here
For directions to Prenton Park look no futher than our counterparts on the Tranmere Rivals site directions page.
For a list of pubs around Prenton Park there is a list here.
Click here to read Rover's Rearguard's preview of the game.
This site is by the fans, for the fans, and we will consider articles on any subject relating to the Mariners whether it be related to current news, a nostalgic look back in the past, a story about a player, a game or games in the past, something about Blundell Park or football in general. Click here to submit your article!
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