League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Two Months to Go!
By: Jostein Jensen
WITH two months to go before the season kicks off on August 11, Jostein Jensen has selected his best XI from what is the "current" squad. Out-of-contract players such as Handyside, Burnett and Donovan are not included, nor are loanees like Luke Cornwall. The story may well be different come August!
"...There doesn't seem any really serious alternative to Danny Coyne..."
1. Goalkeeper: Danny Coyne - The club currently have many alternatives for the No. 1 jersey with the three C's (Coyne, Croudson and Cranley), as well as the new Dutch 'keeper Ronald Ermes. There doesn't seem any really serious alternative to Danny Coyne, one of the best Town keepers in the club's entire history. Cranley is still too young, while Croudson is believed to be loaned to Lincoln for the entire season. Ermes is a big question, he was never near a place in the Feyenoord team, but with an reserve outing or two under his belt he hopefully will become a Dutch Dynamite?
"...Macca's guile and experience may give the club's record appearance holder the nod..."
2. Right back: John McDermott - Grimsby have two great alternatives in this position in the form of Danny Butterfield and John McDermott. Macca's guile and experience may still give the club's record appearance holder the nod, but Danny showed at the end of last season that his talent is still there despite a largely disappointing campaign from the Boston-born youngster. Lennie Lawrence is more likely to employ Butterfield in a midfield role next season, allowing Macca to notch up an appearance tally that could last for decades.
3. Left back: Tony Gallimore - No surprises at left back either - it has to be Galli, more through lack of choice than merit! David Smith is the only real alternative at the moment, but he is not Lennie's favourite. An outside chance for the left back slot is an exciting newcomer in the form of 19-year-old David Morgan from Sunderland.
"...Paul Groves showed that he still is amongst the best players at the club last season despite his advancing years..."
4. Central defence (right): Paul Groves - Club skipper Paul Groves showed that he still is amongst the best players at the club last season despite his advancing years. An alternative to the former Baggie is Paul Raven, but he is to slow for this level and should consider a move down the divisions - maybe to Lincoln? Hard-working youngster Iain Ward is an outside chance for the right-sided central defensive berth.
5. Central defence (left): Peter Handyside - If the former Scottish Under-21 International stays at Blundell Park, he will without doubt play. Lennie Lawrence has alternatives for the position in the form of the seemingly perennially injured Richard Smith, whose latest knee and back trouble "should" see him available for first team duty come August. Simon Ford is an other option, but the ex-Charlton youngster will probably need some time before he makes it into the first team. Menno Willems can be used in this position, something he may well do in the worst case scenario, an eventuality that is not inconceivable should Handyside fail to sign a new contract and perhaps end up in Scotland, 'Big Smudger' never gets fit and is released from his month-to-month contract and Raven joins Alan Buckley at Lincoln City.
"...Coldicott and Pouton - a good chemical solution on the offensive side..."
6. Central midfielder right: Stacy Coldicott - Stacy Coldicott and Alan Pouton showed at the end of the last season that the pair together in the central midfield was unbeatable! The lethal combination had extreme qualities, breaking down the other team's play and also a good chemical solution on the offensive side. Wayne Burnett is a solid alternative - Wayne is a great player but he will maybe be used most at Blundell Park this season when the need to demolish the opposition isn't so pressing. Young local lads Chris Bolder, Ross Thompson and Graham Hockless can maybe fight their way into the first team over the course of the campaign. Both Thompson and Hockless have experience with England Schoolboys that should stand them in good stead if selected for the line of duty.
7. Right midfielder: Kevin Donovan (Stuart Campbell) - It seems unlikely that wantaway wide man Dono will stay at the club - that is sad for the Wembley hero who represents the best alternative in the wide right position. It's expected that filling Donovan's boots will be a task given to new signing Stuart Campbell over the coming season, with alternatives for the role being Danny Butterfield and Alan Pouton.
"...Adam Buckley could be the surprise package next season..."
8. Left midfielder: Menno Willems (Stuart Campbell) - Dutch wonder boy Menno Willems will maybe find himself on the left side this season, where his good left-foot crosses can bring success, although he lacks the explosive pace to command the wing. Stuart Campbell will maybe continue on the left side if Donovan somehow is persuaded to stay. Adam Buckley was reported to be making good progress for the reserves last campaign and could be the surprise package next season in maybe what is Grimsby's weakest position. Utility man David Smith will be an important squad player next season and will probably get some matches in this area of the pitch.
"...Livingstone embodied the phrase 'The old ones are the best ones'..."
9. Striker right: Steve Livingstone - Steve Livingstone embodied the phrase 'The old ones are the best ones', after he became top scorer last season with seven goals. Livo looks set to be the first choice striker despite what was almost an all-time record low numbers of goals netted by the club's leading scorer. The burly frontman will maybe be moved back into defence the next season if needed, something says that it will... Luke Cornwall will maybe sign but isn't in the frame for this round. Chris Thompson is a new youngster, and probably the most promising of the new ones. With experience from Liverpool, Thompson may have learned some tricks (just one will do!) from the likes of Owen, Heskey and Fowler?
10. Striker left: Bradley Allen - The clubs only natural goal scorer is still Bradley Allen; if he manages to keep fit throughout a whole season, on paper the Londoner is likely to be the club's leading scorer. Alternatives are last season's 'Young Player of the Year' Jonathan Rowan - who with his pace should be given an extended spell in the first team. Also don't forget Michael Jeffrey, a player who can contribute to the team not only as a great goal scorer, but also in creating chances - Super Mike gains his fair share of invaluable assists.
"...An injury-free campaign from the ex-Minsterman could be invaluable..."
11. Central midfielder left: Alan Pouton - Alan Pouton or 'Roy of the Rovers' is arguably the club's best prospect at the moment. An injury-free campaign from the ex-Minsterman could be invaluable if Grimsby are to avoid relegation to the Second Division. Menno Willems will probably also fight for this position if the club find another alternative on the left wing. Some of the new youngsters will maybe try to gain a place into the team - the midfielder Robert Brusscher comes from Feyenoord with love - at least he is told to be very excited at being given the chance with the Mariners...
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