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Match Previews

Preview: Grimsby Town

4 April 2021

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There's a huge amount to play for on Easter Monday at Blundell Park when Cheltenham Town travel to Grimsby Town (kick-off: 3pm).

A televised Good Friday win over Tranmere Rovers has helped improve Cheltenham's credentials in terms of gaining promotion to League One, but a trip to north east Lincolnshire along the A46 is just another major battle in the quest to get the points required to earn a place in the third tier next season.

On the other side of things Grimsby have their future in the Football League to play for. Eleven years ago the Mariners were relegated from the League for the first time in nearly a century - now they are doing everything they can to avoid doing that again having reclaimed their place in the EFL in 2016.

Both teams will enter into the game knowing the importance of three points in the early part of the penultimate month of the season.

Watch Monday's encounter live online by buying a match pass on iFollow.

Team news

Midfield man Conor Thomas will be assessed before the trip to see if he can play following the facial injury he suffered in the first half on Good Friday.

Fellow midfielder Chris Clements is also missing against one of his former clubs because of a hamstring injury.

Lewis Freestone is also touch and go with his groin problem though it's expected Matty Blair will feature again after coming through the majority of Friday's game okay.

Opposition

Conceding a late goal at Salford on Friday denied Grimsby what would have been a much needed three points on the road. They sit bottom of League Two and are seven points adrift of safety with a game in hand.

Of late their form has been good, going seven unbeaten, but in that run they have won only once - on the road at Barrow - with the six other games ending in draws.

They'll be hoping their longest serving player, captain and goalkeeper will play a key part in the final stages of the campaign. James McKeown now has over 400 league appearances at Blundell Park.

Their defensive structure includes the towering Rollin Menayese, who is on loan from league rivals Mansfield, Luke Hendrie and academy product Harry Clifton. Luke Waterfall, a former teammate of Sean Long and Ellis Chapman's at Lincoln, also provides useful experience if they need to turn to his guidance at the back.

In midfield former Sheffield Wednesday and Motherwell man Giles Coke was a February signing from Hereford. His experience at the age of 34 could be vital, while alongside him they can look at the likes of the younger Fleetwood Town loanee Jay Matete, Wales international George Williams and Luke Spokes - who made the step up from Southern Premier South Taunton Town to move to Blundell Park last summer.

Their attack is boosted by the presence of target man James Hanson, while another sizeable figure in their front line is former Robins attacker Matt Green. Kyle Bennett, who is on loan from Bristol Rovers, could offer a wider attacking element, while Lennell John-Lewis is another signed from Hereford who is now in his second spell with the Mariners.

The manager: Paul Hurst

Paul Hurst was re-appointed manager at the end of December on an 18-month contract, replacing Ian Holloway who had started the season in the role.

Hurst first took charge jointly alongside Rob Scott at Grimsby in 2011. He took sole charge in 2013 and was the man responsible for leading the Mariners back into the Football League as he guided them to play-off final success at Wembley Stadium in 2016 against Forest Green.

He managed jointly with Scott at Ilkeston Town and Boston United before first going to Grimsby, and since his first spell at Blundell Park has taken charge in the Football League at Shrewsbury Town, Ipswich Town and Scunthorpe United.

As a player he was a one-club man, playing over 430 times in the League for Rotherham United as a left back.

One to watch: Stefan Payne

Grimsby clinched the signing of attacker Stefan Payne from league counterparts Tranmere Rovers on a permanent deal in January.

The 29-year-old has had a well travelled career but since establishing himself in the Football League in recent seasons has turned out in the Championship, League One and League Two for the likes of Shrewsbury Town, Barnsley and Bristol Rovers.

Earlier in his career he did play League football for Gillingham, however he dropped into non-league in the south east for the likes of AFC Hornchurch and most notably Dover Athletic where he was a part of a front three for the Crabble outfit - alongside Ricky Modeste and Ricky Miller - that helped the Kent club reach the National League play-offs, only to miss out in the semi-finals with defeat to eventual promotion winners Forest Green.

Watch the match on iFollow

You can enjoy the whole 90 minutes of Monday's fixture from home by watching on iFollow.

To get access, purchase a match pass ahead of kick-off which is on sale for £10.

Coverage

Stay up to date on Twitter by following @CTFCofficial for team news, updates, images and the latest score.

You can also check out the club's Facebook page and Instagram account for score updates.

Post-match make a visit to the club website to read the match report and to watch Michael Duff's post-match reflections.

You'll be able to view extended highlights from the game on iFollow.


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