Question of the Week
How much would you accept for Omar Bogle?
Sunday's Division One Round-Up: Week 20
By: Richard Lord
GRIMSBY'S creditable 0-0 draw at Preston means they keep in touch with the teams immediately above them in the table after Walsall lost and Sheff Wed drew but Barnsley won.
|The point earned was only the Mariners' ninth since September 8 and only their second clean sheet in 20 league and Cup games.|
Barnsley 4-1 Gillingham
Birmingham 1-0 Walsall
Burnley 0-0 Walsall
Crewe P-P Man City
Norwich 2-1 Wimbledon
Portsmouth 2-0 Stockport
Preston 0-0 Grimsby
Sheff Utd 2-2 Rotherham
Watford 1-1 Wolves
West Brom 1-1 Sheff Wed
Stockport are currently stranded at the bottom with just 12 points from their 25 games played. Grimsby lie just above them on 22 points from the same number of games. Walsall's defeat at Birmingham means they are only one point ahead of the Mariners but they do have a better goal difference.
Sheff Wed are two points and two places above Town, and Barnsley move up to fifth from bottom after another impressive home display. Four points currently separates four teams but there is a gap emerging above that where the next two teams are Crewe and Rotherham who are both four points ahead of the relegation pack.
At the top Burnley stay five points clear of Man City who are third but the Maine Road club have a game in hand. Second placed team Wolves drew at Watford so remain four points off the pace. Norwich, West Brom and Millwall occupy the remaining play-off spots.
The extraordinary story of the week has to be that of former Town loan star David Nielsen (left). Since moving away from Blundell Park for Wimbledon, he has grown tired of playing in front of small crowds at Selhurst Park and has now demanded to leave the club - albeit on loan. The former Danish U-21 International moved to Carrow Road last week and scored on his debut and yesterday scored against his own club Wimbledon for Norwich. It seems the Dane is sending out a message to Don's boss Terry Burton.
Barnsley midfielder Darren Barnard (left) is also on the top of his form and was also on the scoresheet for the Tykes against Gillingham. Once again Grimsby keeper Danny Coyne turned saviour as he almost single-handedly earned the Mariners a valuable point at Preston.
Sheff Wed's striker Efan Ekoku (left) is starting to show some form for the South Yorkshire club, and he netted at West Brom to give the Owls a lead, but this was cancelled out six minutes from time.
Portsmouth's lanky striker Peter Crouch (right) is in to double figures for Pompey after scoring against basement club Stockport. The south coast club went on to win 2-0.
Finally, Iwan Roberts (left) found the back of the net yesterday against Wimbledon, which ultimately turned out to be the winning goal. The Welshman, despite being well into his thirties, continues to score on a regular basis for the Canaries.
Town's Next Opponents
The Boxing Day clash between Grimsby and Coventry at Blundell Park will produce a bumper crowd for the Lincolnshire side whose last away win came at Highfield Road and dismounted Gordon Strachan from his managerial role at the club at the same time. After defeating the Sky Blue's in their own back yard there has been a turn-around in fortune for both clubs. Grimsby went nine games without a win and Coventry went on a long unbeaten run as the clubs moved in opposite directions. However, with only one league win in their last 19 games, Grimsby fans will be sure that this abysmal run has to end somewhere and Coventry have recently been in average form and have slipped back down into mid-table obscurity since looking like serious promotion contenders in late October. Grimsby have only won once since the two sides met on September 8, and that was at home to a midlands club.
Path for Grimsby
After the Boxing Day match against Coventry, Portsmouth visit Blundell Park three days later in the last game of 2001. In the New Year the Mariners face a testing trip to Oakwell where two of the bottom five teams battle it out in another six-pointer. Then on the following Saturday Terry Dolan's York City arrive at Blundell Park for the FA Cup 3rd round clash. West Brom also travel to Cleethorpes the very next week before Town are forced to leave their home ground for the second time in six games as they travel to Crewe - another potential six-pointer.
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