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Question of the Week

Will you attend any Checkatrade Trophy games next season?

All of them
All home games
The odd game
Knock out games
Final only
Total boycott


 

Next Season...?

By: Richard Lord
Date: 05/06/2002

WHAT kind of season will it be like for the Mariners next season? At the moment the World Cup is diverting my attention away from what will surely be an even tougher season starting on August 11 for Paul Groves and his men.

For a start I don't expect to see any new faces at Blundell Park in time for the start of the campaign. Terry Cooke may possibly sign a contract with Grimsby but we will be kept waiting and guessing over whether that will go through until later on in the summer.

Two of the club's hottest prospects are meanwhile deciding whether their futures lie away from Town. Although I would like to see Ford and Boulding sign new contracts, realistically it's natural to presume they will move on.

With the scrapping of the Reserve Team announced last week, I felt disheartened about the whole set-up at the club and the future for some rising stars. But it appears some are still being offered extensions to their existing contracts and so we may be seeing the likes of Bolder and Ward more often next season.

However, whether pushing into the first team will be through their own form or a forced move for the manager remains to be seen. There is simply no money for Groves to go splashing about with, and just one injury in a key area could open the door for the youngsters.

The Chairman and Manager have expressed their desire to keep hold of Coyne and not to just simply sell the team's main asset off in order to make ends meet. Allen, Burnett and Chapman should be given new but reduced terms if they accept.

But it still leaves the team very thin and although many young pros in the game must be fearing for their future in the game, their chances and morale must have been given a real boost because they will be seen as the cheap option out and many will have their chance next season to impress.

If Hockless gets a new deal, he may be played wide on the left of midfield (an area currently a problem in the team) and the fans will also be able to witness the box-to-box midfielder Chris Bolder. No doubt Chris Thompson will have more chances next season to make an impression.

In an ideal world these youngsters may like to have been given more time to prepare and adjust, but the situation that this club, like many others find themselves in, may well have their hand forced to blood new talent.

The question is, with a new batch of youngsters waiting in the wings for next season, where is the next batch going to come from? This needs serious planning for it is these youngsters that will keep the club going, as has been proved in the past. Perhaps an Under-19 side might be the answer to this, at the moment I'm not so sure.

Next season I can see us surviving once more. There are other clubs in this Division suffering the same financial mess but if the management team stick together and the players play for pride and passion, there is no reason to be negative next season.



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