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Tranmere Preview

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 06/04/2001

STRIKER Bradley Allen's ankle injury looks almost certain to keep the Mariners joint top goalscorer out of Town's vital relegation clash with Tranmere at Blundell Park on Saturday. Steve Livingstone, however, trained for the first time for 4-5 weeks on Friday and is back in contention for a recall.

Allen will not be available for selection "barring a miracle" according to Grimsby manager Lennie Lawrence, but Steve Livingstone is definitely in the frame. The burly striker, having missed the last 5 weeks with a calf injury, is in reality more likely to appear on the bench than start the game, but could feature either up front or in central defence to replace the departed Zhang Enhua.

Town boss Lennie Lawrence has set a target of winning the next two games for the Mariners. With the run in literally getting more difficult game by game, the two consecutive home fixtures against first Tranmere and then Watford look the Mariners most likely escape route from the clutches of relegation. "I think that two wins will see us safe," said Lawrence this week. "Saturday's game against Tranmere is really make or break for us. The result is everything. We simply have to win, nothing else will do."

With Enhua back in China, the most likely selection to replace the Chinese international defender is that of Peter Handyside, who has been struggling with a chest infection. Either Matt Bloomer or Steve Livingstone are Grimsby manager Lennie Lawrence's alternative choices for the central defensive berth. In midfield there is a chance that Wayne Burnett could return back from injury, otherwise there isn't expected to be any changes to the team that lost at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Both teams lost their last matches; Tranmere 4-1 against Fulham last Friday whilst Grimsby lost 2-1 against Norwich at the weekend. With children being admitted for free, and a larger than average contingent of away fans expected to make the journey from the Wirral, a sizeable crowd can be expected for the crunch game.


After John Aldridge was sacked two weeks ago basement club Tranmere Rovers are currently without a manager, with Kevin Sheedy now in charge as caretaker boss.

"Saturday is one of the biggest matches in the club's history. A good result will go a long way for us," said Sheedy this week. "It could kick-start a run of results, which is what we need if we are to get out of trouble. No disrespect to the teams we are going to play, but if we can get a result on Saturday it could give us a vital boost going into that hectic run of fixtures".

Tranmere, who have now not won since 27. February, have struggled with injuries and the distraction of a good cup run. The Whites have Clint Hill out suspended, after the fiery youngster was given a three match ban following a staggering 15 cautions. Tranmere's best known players are striker Paul Rideout and Ireland's right full back Jeff Kenna. Town must also look out for Wayne Allison, a top striker on his day.

Predicted Team

Town: Coyne, McDermott, Groves, Handyside, Gallimore, Donovan, Coldicott, Pouton, Campbell, Cornwall, Jeffrey
Subs: Hyldgaard, Butterfield, D.Smith, Willems, Livingstone

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