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Lawrence Interview

By: Stephen Bateman
Date: 17/12/2000

Lennie Lawrence was full of praise for his players on Saturday evening, after seeing them secure their first win in seven matches. The Grimsby boss praised his side's work ethic and was particularly pleased by the way in which his defence absorbed wave after wave of Norwich pressure.

"All in all, the back four was a new back four nearly. When I consider that, I'm delighted to have kept a clean sheet," Lawrence told MarinersNet.

"The opposition were always going to have a lot of possession, but I was well pleased with how we defended. They had a lot of pressure, but they didn't have too many clear-cut chances at all.

"I've always been critical of fifteen minute 'daft-spells', but today there were none. The players worked very hard. We had a plan, we stuck to it and we got a goal at the right time."

When asked to comment on Craig Fleming's own goal, the Mariners boss said: "It was a strange one, but we're due a bit of luck."

Lawrence was once again forced to play David Nielsen as a lone striker, with Kevin Donovan playing in a supporting role and was impressed by the way his players responded to their task:

"That's as well as David's played. Kevin Donovan was asked to play in a very difficult position and he's done well there. He may be the only one who can play there - Bradley [Allen] can do it off two strikers, but maybe not one."

The 2-0 victory saw the Mariners clamber out of the relegation zone - an achievement with which the Grimsby manager was clearly pleased:

"All the bottom clubs won - we could have drawn that and been bottom of the league. That was a big one and it takes a little bit of pressure off us going into the Christmas period.

"We can only get stronger and better. Come January/February time, we'll have a strong squad and it'll be nice to be able to name the same team if I want to. The longer the season goes on, the stronger we'll be."

Looking ahead to the possibility of a relegation scrap come the end of the season, Lawrence went on to add:

"If it comes to that, we'll be as well equipped as we could be. It's going to be tight - at the moment it looks like three from nine. As long as it's not us, I couldn't give a toss really!"

It would also appear that there are encouraging signs with regard to the on-going David Nielsen transfer debacle as he went on to say:

"I've had some encouragement in terms of some unresolved business between David, his agent and his club. I'm led to believe that it's slowly being resolved, but that's none of my business really.

"There's still nothing sorted at our end, we still want the player and I still say it's in his best interests to come here because he's improving. If he carries on like he did today, he'll get his move to the big-time, but he needs to be here with me for 18 months first. The door is open.

"If there's nothing in it, then we all know where we are - we don't want to be messing about with speculation week in, week out."

Earlier this week, Lawrence set a Monday deadline for the completion of a transfer bringing Nielsen to Blundell Park on a permanent basis.

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