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New Contract For Groves

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 13/02/2001

Paul Groves, Grimsby Town's Man of the Match at Gillingham on Saturday, will be offered a new contract as manager Lennie Lawrence continues his negotiations with Town players after signing Steve Livingstone last week on a three year contract.

Lennie Lawrence is expecting to agree a new deal with team captain Paul Groves this week. Later this month Lawrence is also seeking to secure a two-year deal with the club's long-serving full back John McDermott, who broke the appearance record for the Mariners earlier this season.

Surprisingly, Lawrence is offering 35 year old Groves a two year deal, although the Grimsby manager has made it clear that Groves's role in the team is now in central defence. "That's his position now, no question or doubt about that." Lawrence told the Evening Telegraph. "In fairness to the others they've had illness and injuries and they haven't really had a fair run at it.

"But now I've got to look at Zhang and possibly Paul and ask if they can play three games in a week at the level required?"

The former West Brom player, now in his second spell at Blundell Park, has played the whole of his career in a central midfield role, until increasingly dropping back to a defensive position in the last two seasons for Grimsby.

Although Lawrence spoke of Handyside and R Smith being affected by illness or injury it is still puzzling fans why Lawrence favours the Groves/Enhua partnership in the back four. In a poll of Grimsby fans conducted by The Fishy, 64.8% said they favour a Handyside/Smith centre back pairing, with only 4.1% plumping for Lawrence's first choice of Groves/Enhua.

However fans will welcome the signing of Groves and McDermott as both are seen as good solid workers. Although no other players have been mentioned, boss Lawrence also indicated that changes will be made during the summer but gave no hint of who may be affected by those changes.

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