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Wimbledon Previews

By: The Fishy Crew
Date: 02/02/2001

There will be great interest in the starting line up at tomorrow's game against Wimbledon at Blundell Park, with speculation that young Jonathan Rowan could return to partner Michael Jeffrey in what would be the 19 year old striker's first league start.

The recent speculation surrounding Michael Jeffrey's striking partner for Saturday's visit of Wimbledon has still to be resolved as Lennie Lawrence continues to keep his options open and keep his cards close to his chest.

Form player Kevin Donovan could play up front alongside Jeffrey, but the Town manager would prefer him to continue playing on the right of midfield. Livingstone is suspended, Clare is still on loan at Cheltenham and Nielsen has officially left the club.

Speaking to Radio Humberside, Lennie Lawrence believes young striker Jonathan Rowan could still have a good chance of making his Nationwide League debut, despite taking a knock on the head in Wednesday's reserve game against York City. The Town boss feels strongly that it would be too much of a risk to start Bradley Allen, who only just played an hour alongside Rowan in the reserves.

Grimsby's home form has greatly improved since September, when they had won just one and lost four in their first five home matches. Despite a recent blip in their home form against Crewe and Wycombe, they'll be looking to build on their good performance against Portsmouth from last week.

John Hartson On the other hand, the Dons have the best away record in the division with a staggering eight victories on their travels. Recent speculation of Welsh International John Hartson's (left) proposed transfer to Premiership strugglers Coventry City has again hit the headlines, although it is expected that the ex-Arsenal front man will start against the Mariners on Saturday.

Kenny Cunningham Republic of Ireland international Kenny Cunningham (left) has taken a big step towards regaining full match fitness as he played his first 90 minutes of football for the first time since May when he turned out for Wimbledon reserves on Wednesday evening against Notts Forest. It is expected that he will be included in the squad for their trip to Blundell Park.

The game promises to be a tight affair, with Town's good home record and Wimbledon's excellent away record. The London side have found the back of the net on no less than 27 occasions away in the league this season, with impressive 3-0 wins at the likes of Birmingham City.

Whereas the Mariners have surrendered such games as the Crewe defeat recently, but showed grit and determination to beat an organised Portsmouth team 2-1 last weekend.

If both teams continue to play well, it could either result in an action-packed game with plenty of goals, or could (and most probably) end in a 0-0 draw. This game is too hard to call.

Probable teams:

Grimsby: Coyne, McDermott, D. Smith, Enhua, Groves, Campbell, Burnett, Willems, Donovan, Jeffrey, Rowan.

Wimbledon: Davis, Kimble, Willmott, Hawkins, Williams, Ardley, Andersen, Ainsworth, Francis, Euell, and Agyemang

Richard Lord

Grimsby Town welcome Wimbledon to Blundell Park this weekend. The last meeting between the two teams was the 2-2 draw back in December, when Grimsby got a well-deserved point after Nielsen and Richard Smith netted for the Mariners.

Grimsby's chances to score tomorrow are, on paper, limited with two of our most used strikers being unavailable. David Nielsen has departed to Copenhagen and Livvo is suspended.


Grimsby have been a bit weak in attack recently but Michael Jeffrey has impressed lately both for the first team and the reserves. Hopefully he will score his second goal for the Fishermen against the Dons.

The other striker position stands between Allen and Rowan. Lawrence may start with Allen and replace him with Rowan for the second half. If Rowan gets to start it will be his debut start in the league. Rowan who is a local lad will probably have his family in the stands, including his sister who missed his debut in the League Cup clash with Wolves as she had homework to do!

Town will probably use the same team as they did against Pompey where Kevin Donovan was placed out on the right flank again after some matches in the "hole." Donovan impressed again with his third league goal in the same numbers of matches and has now returned to be a goal agent 007 again. Town's number 7 was, as we know, great in his first season for the Mariners - scoring 16 league goals in 1997/98.

There are a few questions over the back line. Lawrence will probably continue with David Smith. But Ben Chapman could also be in the picture.


Wimbledon are still in the FA cup and in the fifth round will meet Wycombe who humbled Grimsby in the third round. Wimbledon are owned by Norwegians, Røkke and Gjelsten. The pair also own Fostervold's club FC Molde, and have brought many players from Molde to London. Among them is Trond Andersen a versatile player who will probably play in central midfield against Grimsby. The Selhurst Park club may include Kenny Cunningham in their squad for the match who played his first full game in over nine months for the reserves in their 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening.

Jostein Jensen

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