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Gillingham Team News
By: Rob Sedgwick
Changes in personnel and suspensions figure prominently in Lennie Lawrence's team selection possibilities for Saturday's away game at Gillingham. With last week's match against Wimbledon having been postponed, it is two weeks since the Mariners last played a fixture, in the 2-1 win over Portsmouth.
Michael Jeffrey, ironically is the first choice striker for the game, having played a bit-part for most of the season, and looks certain to start the match. The Liverpool-born striker, who was former Grimsby Town manager Alan Buckley's last acquisition, will either play up front alone, or partner 19-year-old rookie striker Jonathan Rowan.
The Jeffrey-Rowan striking partnership had been pencilled in by Lennie Lawrence for last Saturday's game against Wimbledon, in what would have been the Grimsby teenager's first league start, but the match against the Dons was called off due to a waterlogged pitch at Blundell Park.
In central midfield, Stacy Coldicott, who missed the Portsmouth game two weeks ago with a back strain, comes back into the reckoning, and looks a likely contender to begin the relegation clash. With Menno Williams joining Steve Livingstone and Alan Pouton in a one match suspension, Lawrence has the choice of continuing with the Groves-Enhua partnership at the back, or alternatively pushing Groves into midfield, allowing either Wayne Burnett or Richard Smith to slot into a central defensive berth alongside the Chinese international defender.
In the full back positions Knut Ander Fostervold's departure and Tony Gallimore's continued groin problems leave Lawrence with little option but to employ John McDermott at right back, with David Smith on the left side of a four man defence.
Lennie Lawrence is under no illusions as to the importance of tomorrow's fixture in the wider context of the ongoing relegation battle near the bottom of the first division table. "The most important thing is that we don't lose," the Grimsby manager told the Evening Telegraph. "If we do, then Gillingham are clear, but if we win or draw then they're still in it because we are. It's just like Portsmouth."
Gillingham player-manager Andy Hessenthaler has no fresh injury worries and the Kent side are expected to field the same line-up that secured a precious point for the Gills in a 1-1 draw at Molineux last weekend. Former Town wide man Nicky Southall is expected to start the game for Gillingham.
Grimsby Town (from): Coyne, McDermott, D Smith, Groves, Enhua, Donovan, Coldicott, Burnett, Campbell, Jeffrey, Rowan, Croudson, Butterfield, Handyside, Raven, Black, Ward.
Gillingham: (from) Bartram, Edge, Ashby, Pennock, Hope, Southall, Saunders, Smith, Gooden, King, Shaw, Asaba, Browning, Patterson, Thomson, Mitten.
As ever, the best place to find directions is the opposition's site. If travelling to the match by train there are engineering works on the line that runs between London Bridge and Gillingham entailing that part of the journey be made by coach. A direct service to Gillingham from London Victoria is the recommended route from the capital to the Gills' Priestfield Stadium.
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