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Lawrence Faces Defensive Dilemma

By: Richard Lord
Date: 14/08/2001

GRIMSBY TOWN manager Lennie Lawrence faces a defensive headache ahead of next Saturday's trip to West Brom. With the ever-present captain Paul Groves the only fit senior central defender at the club, the likeliness of him being pared with loanee David Beharall is increasing every day.

Are there any other options available for the Town boss? Paul Raven, whose injury is not as serious as first thought - with no ligament damage - is a certainty to miss the trip to the Midlands. Menno Willems was preferred in midfield than in central defence against Crewe, and last resort Steve Livingstone has been out with an injury for some time.

Therefore Lawrence may have felt pushed into starting Beharall last Saturday, but he had few alternatives. The Newcastle defender grew in stature over the course of the 90 minutes against the Railwaymen, and this might swing the balance in his favour to start against the Baggies this weekend.

Until the ITV Sport money of £2m is given to the club in September, there is very little chance of Lawrence making any more moves in the transfer market before that time. Norwegian defender Frode Kippe of Liverpool may yet seal a year-long loan move to Blundell Park, but it is believed that his wage demands may force the manager into waiting for the ITV Sport money.

Danny Butterfield, Wayne Burnett and Menno Willems have all been played in central defence, whether it be reserve, pre-season or first team matches, and these are the alternatives Lennie Lawrence would like to avoid, unless the curse of another injury at Blundell Park forces a change.

Who do you think should play in central defence? Replies to the Pontoonites Message Board

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