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Groves And His Selection Headache!

By: Richard Lord
Date: 21/01/2003

MIDFIELDER Terry Cooke has been sidelined with concussion for a week, the Grimsby Telegraph reports. With Pouton, Santos and Coldicott all injured, Groves has just himself, Barnard and Campbell fit for midfield.

What other options does the manager have? With the game against Bradford being built up as a real six-pointer, Groves will be reluctant to field any youngsters unless absolutely necessary.

If there are no further injuries for the rest of the week, it is likely that he will start with the same back four as against Millwall last Saturday, with Coyne remaining in goal.

Midfield is the obvious troublesome area. Groves might be tempted to play Campbell on the right and Barnard on the left, drafting in either Chris Bolder or Iain Ward alongside himself in the centre.

But with Campbell's good form in the middle, the manager will be tempted to name Iain Ward on the right side of midfield. Alternatively Chris Thompson can do a job there, as has been seen in the Reserves.

So despite being reduced to just three recognised fully fit midfielders, Groves still has options in Bolder, Ward and Thompson and it is likely one of the three will be thrown in at the deep end this Saturday.

That's if Town's loan bid for Curtis Woodhouse is either turned down or not registered in time. If he does join, he would go straight into the team with Campbell probably returning to the right.

Groves has also been encouraged by the fans to start Mansaram alongside Boulding up front, with Livingstone's tiredness starting to tell after being involved in so much first team action recently.

However, whether the player-manager will make that decision has yet to be seen. Boulding has yet to reach match fitness but Livingstone could be a good option from the bench as the game nears the end.

Whatever happens, there are still options for the manager to think about and several different roads he could go down. His final decision will pivot on the Woodhouse situation, and whether he joins the club on loan in time.




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