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Shock Move As Buckley Swoops for Groves!!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 14/06/2001

LINCOLN CITY boss Alan Buckley and Grimsby manager Lennie Lawrence look set to lock horns over Town skipper Paul Groves' future. The news follows the ex-Town manager's revelation that the 35-year-old Grimsby captain is the man Buckley would like to become his number two in the Sincil Bank hot-seat.

Although Groves has an escape clause in his 2-year contract he recently signed, that clause only covers job offers as a manager whereas at Lincoln he would be player/coach.

Lennie Lawrence looks almost certain to resist moves to take Groves away from Grimsby and told the Grimsby Telegraph he would only let him go for a high profile job but did say: "It only applies to a manager's job, but if something really attractive comes up you can't stand in his way,"

It would not be the first time that Buckley has swooped for Groves. He took him to West Brom and then brought him back to Grimsby with him in 1997. This latest move would make it the 4th time he has signed him if it comes off.

Only recently was Lawrence able to get John Cockerill to sign a two-year contract to stave off any attempt by Buckley to claim his old partner from Town and with the signing of Kingsley Black and the move for Groves it appears that Buckley is back to his previous old system of old club to new club signings. (Viz. West Brom - Grimsby Town).

If Groves does go it effectively wipes out Grimsby's defensive line-up with Richard Smith released, Handyside looking likely to move, Raven on a free transfer and Groves to Lincoln.

"...His best chance of being a manager in this day and age is while he's well known..."

One problem for Groves is that Lincoln may not be able to meet his wage demands with it reported that Buckley had to lift the wage cap to sign Kingsley Black. Groves might, on the other hand, see this as the first step in moving his career from playing to managership and take a sacrifice in wages.

Lawrence will not be pleased to see this move for Groves and may block the attempt but would not stand in the way of him getting a managers job if one was offered saying: "His best chance of being a manager in this day and age is while he's well known. If, in the summer, this year or next year, someone comes in for him to be manager then he can go." But he does not want to release him to a third division club - believing that his future should lie at Town even beyond his new two-year deal.

Next Story: The Groves Move - Will it Happen?

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