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LDV Defence Begins Here!

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 14/10/2003

PAUL Groves is expected to field a near full strength side for Town's defence of the LDV Vans Trophy, over five years since playing their last fixture in the competition at Wembley in 1998, where they famously defeated Bournemouth 2-1 in extra time.

Since then the Mariners have been in Division One until this season, giving Town no opportunity to play again in the competition, which Grimsby know all too well is worth taking seriously after the heroics of 97-98.

However, some changes to the squad are likely as a result of injuries, or players coming back from knocks.

Darren Barnard is available after returning from international duty with Wales and should make an immediate return in the left back berth. Central defender Tony Crane is struggling with a groin injury after limping out of the 3-0 defeat at Brighton. Paul Groves could decide to rest Crane for the midweek game, giving 20-year-old Greg Young another taste of first team action after two substitute appearances at Blackpool and Brighton.

Dutch winger Marcel Cas had the stitches out of his gashed knee (sustained in the previous visit to Hillsborough in September) last week and is expected to replace Jason Crowe on the right hand side of midfield.

With loan players Nicky Daws and Iffy Onuora only guaranteed to be here for another week, Groves may also decide to promote Phil Jevons and Graham Hockless from the bench to the starting line-up.

Kevin Pressman returns in goal for Wednesday after also being out of action since injuring his arm against Town, where he had to be substituted in the first half.

Wednesday have decided to rest Lloyd Owusu and Grant Holt, giving opportunities to Michael Reddy and Guylain N'Dumbu-Nsungu. Former youth player Jon Shaw is also expected to be promoted to the full squad.

The match must be decided on the night, going to "silver" goals if necessary in extra time. If the tie goes to extra-time and one team goes ahead and is still leading at half-time of extra-time, then they will be declared the winners. If the teams are level at the halfway stage of extra-time then the games continues until the end.

With the two sides having already drawn 0-0 last month in the corresponding league match, when Grimsby were arguably the better side of a close-fought encounter, a repeat performance could well see a silver goal winning the tie.

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