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Town need to serve up a win on Sunday

By: Richard Lord
Date: 07/02/2002

GRIMSBY Town's Sunday Division One match against Watford at Vicarage Road might prove to be one of the club's biggest in recent history.

Currently second from bottom and three points away from safety, the Mariners will have to pull out all the stops in order to keep themselves within touching distance of survival.

Grimsby have found wins hard to come by for most part of the season. They began with four victories from their first six matches but have since just picked up two more from the next 25.

The Mariners have gained 15 points from a possible 75 - and that, I'm afraid, is relegation form. What makes the task even more undesirable for Sunday is the fact that Town have not won away from home since September 8.

Since Grimsby's return to the First Division in 1998, they have failed to win an away game by more than one goal. Due to this statistic they have relied on their good home form to keep them up - something that has also been very poor this campaign.

Now, with seven home defeats to their name, the Mariners have to dig deep and find that elusive away win in time to save their Division One tenure. Just two goals in nine away games doesn't bode well for this weekend.

Managers and players alike recognise 50 points as the aim to keep their side in this division, but with Town currently 22 points short and with only 14 games left, three points must be picked up at Watford.

Teams such as Crewe and Barnsley are pulling away from the relegation zone all the time and it is turning out to be a case of two from four who go down. Grimsby, Sheffield Wednesday, Walsall and Rotherham are the four concerned.

Although Town are three points from safety, their bad goal difference effectively makes that four, which puts added pressure on for the test at Vicarage Road.

However, with Rotherham hitting some poor form, Wednesday's leaky defence and Walsall's inconsistency, it's extremely lucky that the Mariners have not been left behind with Stockport.

The other relegation rivals have failed to capitalise on the chances they have been given to pull away from the bottom, and three points on Sunday would put Grimsby right back in with a shout for survival.

With virtually a fully fit squad, including the returns of McDermott and Pouton, Town have got to act now if they are to have any chance of staying up. A defeat this weekend (and if other results don't go their way) Grimsby would need a miracle to survive.

On the other hand, a victory would put the other three teams under pressure to perform, and with Wednesday, Walsall and Stockport all yet to visit Blundell Park, you can never say 'never' in this game.



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