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Southport v Grimsby Team News
By: Chris Smith
LIAM Hearn (calf) will be missing for Saturday's opener with Southport - but all other 18 first team squad members are available. With Town giving several players their debut and Southport likely to start with 8 new first teamers, both teams will be taking a step into the unknown.
Hearn has only had limited involvement in pre-season so although Town's top scorer will be missed, the team have become accustomed to his absence during the preparation for the campaign ahead.
The Cheshire club have signed defenders Chris Lynch and Louis Barnes, midfielders Charlie Joyce and Aaron Chalmers, and forwards Darren Stephenson, Chris Almond, Steven Tames and Michael Bakar in the summer.
Pre-season friendlies are one thing, but neither manager will truly know how the season will pan out until the players cross the white divide onto the pitch.
Southport just missed out on a play-off place last season, a commendable achievement for a part-time club. They are not expected to repeat that feat if the bookies are to be believed. However other than strength in depth it's hard to find fault with their squad.
Town on the other hand have are arguably better placed than in either of their previous two attempts to mount a serious promotion challenge. Grimsby have added Greg Fleming, Sam Hatton, Aswad Thomas, Derek Niven, Joe Colbeck, Andy Cook and Simon Ford since last season ended. Furthermore, Fleetwood defender Nathan Pond has just signed on a month's loan to give another option in central defence.
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