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3Cambridge Utd6313
6Notts County6210
9Accrington Stanley619
10Crawley Town619
21Leyton Orient6-44
24Newport County6-52

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Chester Preview

By: Richard Lord
Date: 11/08/2005

ALPHABETICAL order is the only thing that places Chester ahead of Grimsby in the League Two table when the two sides meet at the Saunders Honda Stadium on Saturday.

Home > 2005-2006 Season > Previews > Chester (a)

Like the Mariners, Chester have started the season with a home draw and an away win, with exactly the same amount of goals scored and conceded. This is stark contrast to last season, when it took the Blues seven games to record their first victory following their promotion back into the Football League. They finished the season in 20th place, accumulating 52 points from their 46 league games. Chester actually amassed a poorer goal difference than bottom-of-the-table Cambridge, generating a deficit of -26 over the course of the season.

The Manager

Keith Curle Much has been said and written about Keith Curle's (left) time as manager of Mansfield Town, but he was appointed boss of Chester back in May following the departure of Ian Rush. A relative new-comer to the managerial merry-go-round, Curle did a satisfactory job at Field Mill and Blues fans will be hoping he can go one step further with his new team and push them up the table - with a playoff place an outside possibility. Curle's aggressive nature is obviously one of the main attributes the Chester fans will be hoping he puts to good use in the coming season.

The Squad

Michael Branch The manager and fans would have been happy with the way their side came from 2-0 down at home to Lincoln to snatch a point at the death. The resilience shown in that game could be an indication of Chester's character for Grimsby to deal with on Saturday. Last season's meeting was a bruising encounter and with Curle at the helm, it could be more of the same. Michael Branch (left) will offer good work rate up front, ably supported by Marcus Richardson, signed from Lincoln City. Midfielder Tom Curtis, a summer signing from Mansfield, is one of three additions from the manager's old club. Cortez Belle, the 'Sunday League' player from last year's encounter, was released in May and is still looking for a new club.

Current Form

Peterborough 0-1 Chester
Chester 2-2 Lincoln
Grimsby 1-1 Oxford
Bristol Rovers 1-2 Grimsby

Top Scorers

Michael Branch 1
Ben Davies 1
Stewart Drummond 1
Martin Gritton 1
Rob Jones 1
Tony Crane 1

Team News

Russell Slade is keen to name the same starting line-up for the third game running, which means those players nearing fitness will have to work hard for a place in the side. Ciaran Toner and JP Kamudimba Kalala have been recovering well from their respective injuries, as has Justin Whittle. Tom Newey looks to have overcome the niggling injury that forced him to take a fitness test before travelling down to Bristol Rovers in midweek, and although Michael Reddy was taken off before time on Tuesday it looks as if he'll be risked again seeing as the players will have a week's rest beyond the game on Saturday.

Likely starting line-ups

1. Steve Mildenhall
2. John McDermott
3. Tom Newey
12. Rob Jones
4. Simon Ramsden
5. Tony Crane
20. Gary Croft
8. Paul Bolland
11. Andy Parkinson
9. Michael Reddy
10. Martin Gritton
6. Justin Whittle
17. Glen Downey
19. Gary Jones
15. Gary Cohen
22. Calvin Andrew
1 Chris MacKenzie
22 Scott McNiven
3 Carl Regan
5 Phil Bolland
6 Luke Dimech
7 Stewart Drummond
10 Ryan Lowe
14 Ben Davies
11 Tom Curtis
23 Marcus Richardson
8 Michael Branch
2 Stephen Vaughan
4 Shaun Hessey
21 Abdelhalim El Kholti
30 Justin Walker
15 David Artell

Past meetings

The two sides have met a total of 31 times, Town winning on 16 of those occasions. Beyond last season you'd have to go back to season 90/91 when Town last played Chester in the league. The Mariners were victorious on their travels, winning 2-1 after an own goal from Bennett and a Neil Woods strike settled the issue in front of 1,875 fans. The return game later that season - in front of a crowd toppling 6,000 - also saw a Grimsby victory, this time 2-0 with Woods again on the mark, joined by Tommy Watson. Grimsby finished third that campaign and was their second successive promotion under Alan Buckley. Full Stats


Chester struggled somewhat in their opening home game of the season, so it would be to Town's advantage if they could sneak an early goal. Chester's home form was what kept them safe last season, but with Town recording an away win at their first attempt on Tuesday night the squad will surely be buoyant going into this match. 1-1.

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