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Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
By: Stephen Bateman
Town bid to secure an FA Cup 4th Round place on Tuesday night as they attempt to overcome second division outfit Wycombe Wanderers at the second time of asking. Coming off the back of a shocking performance on Saturday, the Mariners will doubtless be hoping to improve on their recent form.
After watching his side being rolled over by lowly Crewe, manager Lennie Lawrence stated that "there will be changes to the team on Tuesday."
This could mean a defensive re-shuffle, with Peter Handyside and Richard Smith being recalled in the heart of the Mariners defence, and captain Paul Groves being ushered into his more accustomed midfield role.
In spite of a marginally improved performance on Saturday, right-back Danny Butterfield may also miss out as John McDermott approaches a return to first-team action.
With many Town fans clamouring for Ben Chapman to be given an opportunity at left-back, Lawrence faces a dilemma in choosing between the promising youngster and regular left-backs Tony Gallimore and Knut Anders Fostervold.
Gallimore has struggled to hold onto his place throughout the season, whilst Norwegian Fostervold has failed to make much impact at Blundell Park since his arrival at the end of last year. Such shortcomings may also present an opportunity for occasional left-back Dave Smith to press his claim for a starting berth in the Town defence.
Stuart Campbell should retain his place in the Grimsby engine-room, possibly alongside Groves and Vitesse Arnehm midfielder Menno Willems, with Stacey Coldicott and Wayne Burnett being relegated to the bench.
After stoutly refusing to alter his decision to employ Kevin Donovan "in a hole", Lawrence looks set to keep faith with the former-Baggie, playing him just behind a front pairing of Steve Livingstone and David Nielsen.
Speaking ahead of the game, the Grimsby manager told reporters:
"Although the match with Wycombe is not as important as a league game, it now takes on added psychological importance because of the manner of the Crewe defeat. A win, by whatever means, will at least restore some confidence for this weekend's trip to Stockport."
Lawrence went on to assure fans that although he is unsure of exactly what his plans are, he will be making changes to the personnel rather than the formation, commenting:
"Some players are going to have to realise that they need to put in decent individual performances and there will be changes in the team, although I haven't decided exactly who or where or what."
The Chairboys are besieged by selection problems ahead of Tuesday night's clash, with regular first-teamers Sean Devine, Paul Emblen, Jermaine McSporran, Dave Carroll and Niall Thompson all missing out through injury.
Right-back Ben Townsend is expected to return to the starting line-up after a spell on the sidelines, with fellow defender Jamie Bates also joining the squad.
Following an impressive performance after coming on as a substitute in Wycombe's televised 1-1 draw with Luton on Friday, diminutive former-Youth star Martyn Lee looks likely to replace Steve Brown in midfield.
With on-loan striker Sam Parkin inelligible for the tie, 21-year old striker Andy Baird will continue to partner leading-scorer Andy Rammell in the Wanderers forward line, with Danny Senda providing the link between midfield and attack.
Manager Lawrie Sanchez believes that his side have little to fear from the Mariners after their impressive form of late, saying:
"We are coming off the back of two away wins so we are going into the game with confidence.
"Grimsby didn't have the best result in the world on Saturday and we are on a high.
"I want to stay in as many competitions as I can for as long as possible. The longer we are in the cups the better season we will have."
Grimsby (possible; 4-3-1-2); Coyne - Butterfield, Gallimore, Smith, Handyside - Campbell, Groves, Willems - Donovan - Livingstone, Nielsen.
Wycombe (possible; 4-3-1-2); Taylor - Townsend, McCarthy, Cousins, Vinnicombe - Bulman, Simpson, Lee - Senda - Baird, Rammell.
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