League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Richard Hubbert
AS the new season rapidly approaches, Friday night not only gives Town fans their last chance to see their stars before the season opens, but it also provides an opportunity to meet the players and get their autographs! Not bad for a night's entertainment! So, here we go with the preview.....
Last season saw just one goal scored in the two games that the two sides met. This was scored by Bradley Allen at Blundell Park, back in October last year, which saw the introduction of Danish striker David Nielsen in his first outing for Grimsby. This game proved to be the last for ex-manager Steve Bruce, who was immediately sacked after the defeat. In the return fixture, the game ended in a dull 0-0 stalemate, with Sky Sports pundit Alan McAnally decrying that both sides deserved to be relegated. Games between the two teams normally produce a close fought match, which usually means that there is just a goal or two that separates the two.
Last season was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for all Huddersfield fans. By about November, they were everyone's favourites to go down, enduring a dreadful start that left them bottom of the pack. But then, when Lou Macari signed Birmingham City striker Peter Ndlouv on loan, the Terriers sprang into life, starting to move out of the bottom three and looking as if they could just avoid the drop. This form continued until Ndlouv was snapped up by local neighbours Sheffield United.
Still, despite having a lack of punch up front, Huddersfield remained on course to stay up, scrimping and scraping for points wherever they could muster them from. When Lou Macari signed Andy Booth, the form continued and the goals kept on flowing.
Then, when it came to the final day, it was one from Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, Huddersfield and the Mariners. Huddersfield were probably the least favourites to go down because they were at home to a side who had nothing to play for Birmingham.
While Grimsby were at home to Fulham, who had only lost 5 times in the league all season, and Portsmouth and Palace faced Barnsley and Stockport respectively. But unfortunately for Huddersfield, all of them won, with Palace getting an 86th minute goal to keep them up, by the skin of their teeth.
The summer has meant a mass exodus of players from the McCalpine, in order to reduce the wage bill and things don't look to good, but there are still players who can do a job and hopes are high for Lou Macari's men.
Hopes For This Season
Although they will be many people's favourites to go straight back up, Huddersfield still have a lot of wheeling and dealing to do, if they want to fight their way up the Nationwide league's most competitive division.
Having lost seven first team players in the summer, Huddersfield have not bought anyone, and look in need of a few extra bodies. Having said that, there is no doubt that the talent they have is a cut above the division.
The likes of Andy Booth, Delroy Facey and Clive Wijhnard should prove good enough to score the goals, but the worry for the Town supporters will be the defence and midfield, which is where they are most in need of.
Taking all this into context, Huddersfield should still be in and around the play-offs, despite little summer activity. They have enough quality to score the goals, but it's the other parts of the field that will worry Lou Macari, as he takes his team into the new season.
Steve Livingstone will miss the game along with Paul Raven, meaning they both miss the start of the new season. John McDermott could be rested with a niggling injury, as could keeper Danny Coyne who was rested at Scunthorpe on Wednesday night. Manager Lennie Lawrence has hinted he will play the team he expects to play against Crewe a week on Saturday, as the final preparations get under place.
Clive Winjhard will miss a further six months after being out of the game for a year He was told by a specialist in Holland that he needed to rest after the operation he had last year. This was hoped to cure the injury he sustained in a car crash last August. Striker Delroy Facey will miss the game, as will Martin Smith, but both hope to make the start of the season. Former Tranmere midfielder Kenny Irons will hope to complete his comeback from injury, with a full 90 minutes in the Terriers engine room.
Prediction For Game
Considering that neither teams have scored many past each other recently, they'll probably be only one goal in it. 1-0 or 2-1 will be the score, but I'll go 2-1 to the Mariners, with goals from Jevons and Burnett.
Fishy prediction: 2-1 to the Mariners.
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