Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
By: Richard Hubbert
FOLLOWING the Mariners' impressive win over QPR last weekend in the FA Cup, itâ€™s back to the cut and thrust of league action on Saturday afternoon with the visit of Stockport County, who lost to Stevanage in the FA Cup last week.
With three home wins on the bounce and the emphasis Paul Groves has placed on our home games, it is clear that this is yet another "winnable" game that has to be won to put ourselves in a decent position in the table come Christmas. Stockport are in the bottom four at present and are in a transitional stage, with their dismissal of Carlton Palmer and the appointment of Sammy McIlroy as their boss. Their form has been very inconsistent all season - they lost to Stevenage last weekend, but a few weeks before, won at Brighton - so it very much depends on which Stockport team will turn up to what sort of game weâ€™re in for.
Hardiker became the Conferenceâ€™s most expensive defender ever in 2001 when he signed from Morecambe. Expected to perform in the midfield this season will be Aaron Lescott whose career has been hindered with injury - including one that he picked up when Town last met Stockport in February 2002. He has been on the bench the past few games but will be looking to capture the form that saw him play in the Premiership with Sheffield Wednesday.
Good news for Mariners fans is that Luke Beckett, who scored 27 goals for County last season, is injured with a cruciate ligament damage and could be out for the rest of the season. This means that responsibility for goals falls to the experience of the likes of Stuart Barlow and Aaron Wilbraham, who is the club's top scorer with 6 goals. Also in the squad will be ex-Town target under Lennie Lawrence, Kevin Ellison and former loanee â€˜keeper Nick Colgan.
Probable Starting XI's
Lincoln City manager Keith Alexander (left), who was rushed to hospital this week, played for both Stockport and the Mariners. Having plyed his trade in the lower leagues, it was with Town that he started playing professional football and scored 19 goals for the Mariners. After two years at Blundell Park, he signed for Stockport for Â£8,500.
Also played for both did Pineapple Head Jason Lee. Lee played only twice for County until he signed for Lincoln in 1991 for Â£35,000. It was in 1997 that he appeared for Town in a loan deal under Kenny Swain, where his couple of goals towards the end of that relegation season couldnâ€™t save Town from the drop. He now plays his trade for Scottish side Falkirk.
Last Time Out
Town last played Stockport in the epic relegation battle of 2001/02 season when they won 3-1 at Blundell Park. This was the game of course, when Martin Pringle tragically broke his leg after a "challenge" by Mr D Challinor - an injury that ended Pringleâ€™s career. The game at the time though, was a must win game, one in a run of home games where Town gathered maximum points. The scorers for Town that day were Paul Groves, Andy Todd and Bradley Allen. Carlton Palmer got a spectacular goal for Stockport, but was then later sent off.
Town Team: Coyne, McDermott, Smith, Todd, Groves, Butterfield, Burnett, Pouton, Campbell, Allen, Pringle.
Attendance: 6,836 Report
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