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Team News: Darlington v Grimsby
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRAHAM Rodger has no new injury worries and could stick with the team which started against Hartlepool as the Mariners travel to Darlington hoping to bounce back from two demoralising defeats at Blundell Park.
Rodger is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea as he had already dropped three players after Saturday's defeat to Stockport for Tuesday's match against Hartlepool. The result was a marginally better overall display against Pools, although Town's performance was still unacceptable.
40-year-old Peter Beagrie is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench, being unlikely to play twice in such a short space of time.
Without resorting to young inexperienced professionals Rodger does not have a great deal more scope to shuffle his pack beyond the players used in the last two games. That's something he's unlikely to do with defeat against Darlington possibly signaling the end to his short career in league football management.
With first choice strikers Isaiah Rankin (thigh), Michael Reddy (groin) and Gary Cohen (knee) all injured, Rodger may well elect for on-loan Tony Thorpe to partner last year's leading scorer Gary Jones up front - the same combination with started against Pools.
Darlington's record signing Julian Joachim, who has already terrorised Town's defence once this season, when he started for his former club Boston in the opening game at Blundell Park, has been ruled out for a month after suffering a hamstring strain. Alun Armstrong (No. 25) or Martin Smith (No. 19) are likely to deputise in Joachim's absence. Darlington favour a 4-3-3 formation, with Simon Johnson (No. 11) and Italian Gaetano Giallanza (No. 9) being the other two strikers.
Defender Patrick Collins and striker Clark Keltie are also set to return from injury for the Quakers.
Darlington have failed to win their last three league games, but David Hodgson has built up one of the strongest squads in the division, and the Quakers could well figure in the promotion places come the end of the season, something that is looking increasingly unlikely for the Mariners without a significant change in their fortunes.
Town: Barnes, McDermott, Whittle, Fenton, Croft, Bore, Bolland, Toner, Ravenhill, Jones, Thorpe
Subs: Newey, Toner, Boshell, Lawson, Taylor
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