IT was the end of an era this week at Blundell Park, and Saturday sees the prologue to a new one. The managerless Mariners face high-flying Brighton at Blundell Park, wanting to dispel memories of last week's humiliation at Oldham.
Few Town fans need reminding of the events of the last week. Following the 6-0 drubbing at Oldham on Sunday, Paul Groves was sacked. Strangely though, Groves remains as a player but is thought to want to make a quick exit from Blundell Park. In another blow to the Mariners, on Thursday, Michael Boulding made his much anticipated move to Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, though former Arsenal forward Isiah Rankin has moved in the opposite direction on loan, which will ease Town's woes.
Mark McGhee. (left) McGhee has a wealth of managerial experience in the football league, managing Reading, Leicester, Wolves and Millwall before a move to Birghton earlier this season. His job at the Withdean Stadium came about after the departure of Steve Coppell to Reading in October. McGhee was sacked by Millwall despite establishing the Lions in the top half of the First Division table, and after a wobbly start with the Seagulls has now steered Brighton into the play off mix.
In goal for the Seagulls due to Michael Kuipers and Ben Robertsâ€™ respective injuries, will be Stuart Jones. Jones signed on non contract forms just over a week ago, and found himself in the side for the Seagulls midweek clash with Luton Town. Danny Cullip (left) signed for the club from Brentford in 1999 and has been at the heart of the Brighton defence for the last few seasons. Aggressive and determined, Cullip has now made over 150 appearances for the Club. 31 year old Richard Carpenter has also been a regular face in the Brighon side over the past season, winning promotion twice with the Seagulls as well as also being promoted with his former clubs - Cardiff, Fulham and Gillingham. In attack for Brighton are two forwards with undoubted quality. Trevor Benjamin cost Leicester over a million pounds a few years back and has failed to hold down a regular place in the Midlands side. He has had short loan spells with Rushden and Diamonds, Norwich, West Brom and Gillingham, but has enjoyed a decent run of form for Brighton with two goals in five appearances for Mark McGheeâ€™s side. Also in attack will be ex Chelsea forward Leon Knight, their top scorer with 19 goals.
The Mariners will be forced to make at least one change to the side that started last Sundayâ€™s match with Oldham. Michael Boulding starts at pastures new, but will be replaced with Isiah Rankin who is likely to partner Lee Thorpe who makes his home debut for Town. The other alternative for Graham Rodger is to play Phil Jevons in a more advanced forward role.
Paul Groves could still technically play, but is unlikely to. Either Des Hamilton or Staurt Campbell will partner Nick Daws in the middle. If it is Campbell, then Iain Anderson will possibly get a start after looking lively (compared to the other Town players!) last weekend.
Jason Crowe will continue at right back, but John McDermott will return sooner than expected, with his hernia injury not as bad as first suspected.
Darren Mansaram should make the bench despite picking up a knock this week.
Paul Watson is almost certain to miss out for Brighton after going off with an injured groin in this weeks game with Luton, after just ten minutes.
Midfielder Nathan Jones replaced him and played a whole hour, despite lacking match fitness. He could start, but so to could John Piercy who has been sidelined since Albion beat Plymouth a few weeks ago.
Keepers Martin Kuipers and Ben Roberts are still out injured, so Stuart Jones will start between the sticks.
Probable Starting XI's
The Mariners travelled to Brighton earlier this season, in October when they lost 3-0. After performing well in the first half, the Mariners were undone by two quick Brighton goals from Zesh Rehman and Leon Knight. Knight compounded the Mariners misery with a penalty in the last minute.
This site is by the fans, for the fans, and we will consider articles on any subject relating to the Mariners whether it be related to current news, a nostalgic look back in the past, a story about a player, a game or games in the past, something about Blundell Park or football in general. Click here to submit your article!