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Portsmouth Preview

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 26/01/2001

Portsmouth at home is as close to being a "banker" for the Mariners as it gets, with Grimsby's record over the years against the Hampshire side at Blundell Park being excellent. With Pompey lying in a mid-table spot in the first division table, the game is a "must win" for Town.

August's 1-1 draw at Fratton Park was, of course, Alan Buckley's last game in charge of Town, and the return fixture similarly falls at a watershed point in Town's season. If the Mariners are to avoid being relegated to Division Two, three points on Saturday are arguably a must. Kevin Donovan's last minute equaliser at Stockport saw a precious point secured in Town's bid to secure a 48 points plus points tally, thought to be enough to avoid the drop.

MaccaWith Peter Handyside and Alan Pouton both featuring in Wednesday's reserve away at York, those two are likely to figure on the bench at best. John McDermott (pictured) is ready to return at his right back spot after a calf strain, with Danny Butterfield still out of contention through injury. At left back Tony Gallimore (groin) and Knut Anders Fostervold (knee) are both out of contention, with either David Smith or Ben Chapman taking up the position.

Up front Steve Livingstone will spearhead the Town attack once again, with Kevin Donovan playing his now familiar position in "the hole". 20 year old Jonathan Rowan is promoted to first team duties again to add some fire power to the squad, and should start the game on the bench.

Portsmouth

The South Coast club climbed into a mid-table spot after Saturday's 2-1 win over Wimbledon, but are not clear of the relegation battle yet, with the bottom half of the table being so tight. Player-boss Steve Claridge is looking for his team to consolidate on their place in the table saying this week: "I think we're getting there slowly but surely. If we could climb a couple of places into the top ten I'd be really, really happy, especially after the start we had to the season before I took over."

Shaun Derry Midfielder Shaun Derry (pictured) is back in contention for a place in the starting line-up at after completing a two-match ban, and may take over from Brazilian Stefani Miglioranzi.

Steve Claridge's major doubt is defender Jason Crowe, who is still troubled by back spasms which have forced him to be substituted in the last two matches. The Pompey boss needs to decide whether to start with Crowe or leave the 22-year old former England U-18 defender on the bench.

Grimsby (from): Coyne, McDermott, Willems, Enhau, Campbell, Coldicott, Burnett, Smith D, Donovan, Livingstone, Pouton, Bloomer, Jeffrey, Chapman, Croudson

Portsmouth (from): Flahavan, Crowe, Hiley, Moore, Nightingale, Hughes, Quashie, Thogersen, Derry, Miglioranzi, Harper, Bradbury, Waterman, Rudonja, Mills


Past Fixtures

Although Portsmouth occupy 74th position on the Opposition Ladder, the fixture tends to be one the Grimsby win at home and lose away, although Town have not lost at Fratton Park for three years and drew 1-1 there in Alan Buckley's last game in August.

Last season Town did the double over Pompey winning 1-0 at home and 2-1 away

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