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Trick Or Treat?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 31/10/2001

There may well have been plenty of tricks at Blundell Park last night but there were very few treats for the Grimsby fans. With almost the same team that outplayed, out fought and outrun Birmingham only 4 days before, Town looked as if they had eleven strangers in the team.

Gone was the running, overlapping, understanding and commitment of Friday. In its place was the usual dismal display of recent weeks with front men looking forlornly for service which never came.

With one victory in eleven games manager Lawrence has finally realized, after two seasons in charge, that Town players cannot manage 2 games a week. "Common sense says that four days later they should be able to manage it, but they can't. I rotated it between Man City and Birmingham and I should have done it again." He said.

"One or two of them were unrecognisable from Friday and you would bet against Norwich being above Birmingham at the end of the season. If I leave it alone you saw what happened. It's not even a criticism, it's a statement of fact."

"But it's easy to say that after the event and it's the last thing you'd expect after such a convincing victory, but I will have to do it. They can't do it."

"Thank goodness there's no midweek games between now and Christmas apart from the Cup game. That's an absolute godsend because we need a home team and then we need an away team. We need to build a team for each game."

Norwich's manager Nigel Worthington said "Grimsby is a hard place to come to get a result and we've played reasonably well and I think we got our just deserts and got two good goals. We went with a 4-4-2 just because that's what they played but I've said before that it isn't about systems, it's about players."

Whatever the reason, the changes that seemed to be forthcoming after the Birmingham game are now just as far away as a premier place for town and relegation is fast becoming a certainty rather than a threat.

Lawrence lowered the boom on Paul Groves, replacing him with Beharall and it is about now that he should be looking at replacing other regulars if they haven't the bottle for the first division. Far better to lose with young players and reserves playing their hearts out than seeing first team players looking like lost sheep on the field. Let's face it, if we want monkeys, we can buy them at Woolworths!

It is time for some hard decisions to be made before it is too late. Let us hope that Lennie Lawrence can change something before the Wimbledon game on Saturday which under normal circumstances we would be expected to win.

Amazingly, despite the recent poor results, attendances have not been too bad, but the fans' patience is gradually running out and unless we start getting results, Town will lose customers faster than the Afghanistan tourist industry!

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