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24Newport County13-88

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Fight For Your Place - No Guarantees Says Groves!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 11/06/2003

PAUL Groves warned Tony Crane that he must fight for his place in the Grimsby Town side next season, writes Stuart Rowson in the Grimsby Telegraph today. Crane, who can also play in central midfield, is looking for regular first team football as he looks to help Town bounce back into Division One.

But Groves has warned that "no-one will be guaranteed a place in the side" as he looks to build his 25 strong squad in line with the Town board wanting to see 10 new faces before June 30 but with just 20 days left to bring in 9 more, it appears to be a vain hope!

"We've brought Tony to play at centre-half and at this moment he's got competition from Simon Ford, Kirk Wheeler and Greg Young," said Groves. "Hopefully there will be some more along the way because we're still talking to George Santos and there's Steve Chettle too."

(Does this mean Chettle will be offered a deal after all? Groves said if Santos did not come back, he would give it to Chettle)

"They will all start the season and whoever performs the best will get the spot. Tony will have to prove himself and it's not a case of where you can say that we've brought him to play 30 games. It's up to him."

"All along we've been looking at trying to bring in senior professionals. We've spoken to several players, but they're on existing contracts and there won't necessarily be any movement until the end of July."

Groves was pleased to have snared 6ft 5in Crane and believes his physical presence will prove a valuable asset in the second division. "He's a good age and he's played a number of games in the first division. He's physically well equipped to deal with the second division. He's versatile and he's got time on his side too. We've been aware of him for a while."

"When we've been watching games he's been one that's interested us and we're obviously delighted to have got him. Throughout our time here we feel we've been lacking physical presence - hence bringing in George Santos."

"Centre-half is an area where you need to be physical to deal with any direct play and that's something we've moved to address by bringing in Tony and George. With dropping down a level it's even more important."

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