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Preston Team News

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 21/12/2001

SIMON FORD and Chris Thompson are expected to make their full league debuts tomorrow, as Town make the trip to Preston hoping to reverse the form books. A run of just one league win in nineteen games has seen the Mariners plummet from top to second bottom in the First Division table.

Simon Ford had not expected to make his first start for the Mariners at this stage of the season, but the former Charlton youth player is relishing the opportunity to make a name for himself. Ford's chance has come because the 20-year-old Londoner is one of only two fit central defenders at the club after Paul Raven was forced to pull out earlier this week with a hamstring problem - circumstances which Ford feels has taken the pressure off himself for the tough-looking trip to Lancashire.

"When the team was doing well I wanted a chance then. I wanted to be a part of it," Ford told the Evening Telegraph. "But now, because of the run we're having, it's the best time to go in as a defender. If we get a result, it can only look good for me.

"I didn't think my chance would come until after Christmas. I knew it was going to take time but if I kept playing well in the Reserves I thought it would come.

"I played a bit against Lincoln and then I was on the bench for a few. Now my chance has come again and I have to take it. I'm quietly confident in my own ability and if I do well there's no reason I can't stay in the team."

Former Liverpool striker Chris Thompson is also expected to take his place in the starting line-up, after injuries to half the first team squad have forced Town boss Lennie Lawrence to draw his team selection from the entire pool of professionals at Blundell Park, rather than just the more established members of the side.

Lawrence is still hoping to bring in a central defender on loan as soon as he can, but is unlikely to do so in time for tomorrow's game. The Grimsby manager has admitted it will be hard to bring anyone to Blundell Park during the festive part of the season, and conceded that he may have to cope with the fit players already at the club.

Town (from): Coyne, Neilson, Gallimore, Ford, Groves, Butterfield, Coldicott, Willems, Boulding, Thompson, Jevons, Burnett, D Smith, Croudson, Chapman

The Preston site has all the North End team news in their Match Preview.

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