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Croudson Loan Puzzle - Is He Sidelined?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 09/06/2001

IN A surprise announcement today Grimsby Town boss Lennie Lawrence has offered Lincoln City boss, Alan Buckley, Town's number two keeper Steve Croudson on a season-long loan.

Lawrence said he wants Croudson to get some first team experience and says he could join Lincoln for a year, as Dutchman Ronald Ermes will be arriving at Blundell Park soon.

Despite Lawrence telling the Grimsby Telegraph that the move was not a reflection on Croudson's ability but was vital to give him some big-match experience and that he still had a future at Blundell Park, this must place Croudson's position at Grimsby in doubt.

Talking to the Telegraph about Lincoln, Lawrence said, "That would be good. He could do it there. The third division would be absolutely ideal and if they come in for him I would have to seriously consider it."

"I would have to let Stevie out if the opportunity arose just to let him get experience. I would do a season long thing. If not the third division, then the Conference. It's nothing against him he just needs to play first team football."

"I'm not looking to cut the wage bill, because it might actually end up costing us money. I might have to find him a club."

It seems that if Buckley is not interested in Croudson, he may well end up in the Conference with Keith Alexander at Northwitch Victoria.

In what appears to be some woolly thinking, Lawrence said "We've signed the Dutch boy and the problem I've got there is, if Stevie goes out on loan, I haven't got anybody of any experience on the bench. The minute you don't have anybody on the bench we'll get a problem with Danny. But, if somebody comes in for Stevie I'd probably go with it."

A remarkable statement, as all last season, the only consistency we had in the team was in goal, with Danny Coyne whose performance, without doubt, was one of the reasons we are not presently languishing in the second division.

With four keepers at Blundell Park with Danny Coyne, Steve Croudson, Morgan Cranley and Ronald Ermes one would have thought that Ermes might have been a better choice to be loaned out to gain experience with Croudson standing by in the event of problems with Coyne.

What appears to be the case is that Ermes may well be rated by Lennie as a better prospect than Croudson as it appears he is to be groomed for second choice keeper behind Coyne.

One can also wonder what the situation will be if an offer comes for Coyne that cannot be refused. The season has not started yet and Coyne is regarded highly by other clubs. In football, all things are possible but it is a bit worrying to see Grimsby Town without an experienced keeper to fill the breach when necessary.

(What do you think? Is Billo right to be worried or is Lennie making the right moves? Your comments on the message board please. Editor)

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