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Lennie Lawrence Wants Vickers On Loan For Season

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 25/07/2001

LENNIE LAWRENCE has finally conceded that he is targeting Middlesbrough centre-back Steve Vickers on a year's loan but admits also that his initial approach has been turned down. Lennie sees Vickers as a replacement for Peter Handyside as he looks to strengthen his defensive line-up.

Speaking to Stuart Rowson of the Grimsby Telegraph who is following the tour in Scandinavia, the Grimsby boss said: "An enquiry has been made and it was temporarily knocked back - but not completely rebuffed. Obviously it's a long shot. If it does happen it won't be until just before the season starts. Maybe the week before."

"...It's a long shot..."

"A permanent move would be out of the question. We couldn't afford a transfer fee and wages could well be a problem. But he'd be an ideal addition. He's a great lad and on his day he's a Premier League player. But with them buying Southgate and being linked with others it might be our time."

"It's a long shot and there will be other first division clubs interested in signing him permanently, and I'm not going to be in a position to do that. If they don't want to sell him and he doesn't want to leave, but wants to play - then we could be the perfect answer for him."

Lennie also had other bad new. The Mariners have an afternoon clash today in Copenhagen but Leicester City winger Kevin Ellison is still not fit enough to play as he is struggling with a thigh strain.

Lawrence also failed to get Norwegian trialist Stian Thomassen for today's game after the 24-year-old part-timer was forced to return home yesterday afternoon because of work commitments.

Steve Livingstone is also missing and seeing a Swedish chiropractor again today hoping to regain his fitness before he gets home.

"It's the hardest game of the three so I'm told. Kev and Livvo won't be playing so we'll juggle it so that everybody has had a full 90 minutes during the three matches," said Lawrence. Against Trelleborg we were good for 45 minutes. Today we need to be good for 90."

Denmark and Sweden are experiencing mini-heatwave with temperatures up in the 80's but Lawrence is unperturbed. "We've got to get ready for it and at least we'll be acclimatised to it. It might get to the opening day and be 80 degrees. You can play all your pre-season games on a night and then come to the first day and it's red hot."

Although it appears that not everything is going according to plan, the news that Rowan and Butterfield are doing well and expecting to play today, Lennie is sounding very confident. Today's game by all accounts will be a real test.

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