Match Preview: Grimsby Town V The Imps
If City need any more motivation for this one after their hiding on Boxing Day, then the fact at least 8,000 Mariners are going to turn up expecting a massacre ought to spark a few into life.
It will be interesting how Holdsworth sets up his side after the lump it to Oliver master plan spectacularly backfired at Sincil Bank. His hand may be forced somewhat after City's players went down like flies in Saturday's uninspiring draw with Gateshead, but surely the City boss will have to reintroduce the cleverer and altogether much prettier Power/Taylor combination in a week of darts if City want to get anything from their trip to Cleethorpes.
City will be without left back Peter Gilbert, who is following a trend of players getting injured immediately after signing a contract. Holdsworth may have to move Paul Robson across there after the sometimes shaky fullback put in a decent shift against Gateshead, while another option is dropping the out of favour Nicky Nicolau back there. Whoever it is will have to deal a little better with Joe Colbeck than Gilbert did on Boxing Day. Elsewhere, and Dan Gray is reportedly touch and go for the fixture, and if fit he is likely to deputise in midfield with Tom Miller out at right back.
One man who definitely won't be on the pitch is Gary Mills, who is out of contention having sustained a fairly bad looking injury against Gateshead. You suspect however that with City fans still pondering what on earth Mills actually brings to the party other than loud noises, he may not be hugely missed.
A more pertinent question than replacing Mills is perhaps whether Holdsworth will select Mr. Farman in goal. The young stopper is still City's number one, although Tuesday's game may come slightly too early for the keeper despite an eagerness to bounce back from his Boxing Day blunders. David Preece didn't particularly impress when he was selected ahead of the former Gateshead stopper, although you suspect City may stick with the more experienced man between the sticks in a potentially difficult atmosphere.
In terms of Grimsby's eleven, and there may be changes up front if they can pull off the signing of former Trinity forward Ross Hannah. The Mariners are reportedly 'close' to completing a deal with Bradford for the striker although it remains to be seen whether he will turn out in black and white on New Year's Day. If he doesn't play then we may be able to look forward to City making Andy Cook look like Didier Drogba again (admittedly you had to squint quite a lot).
Here's hoping (tentatively) that a solid City performance can turn The Fishy's silly euphoric poem into something rather more akin to a lament, although you'd be ill advised to hold your breath; City haven't won at Blundell Park since Simon Yeo's hat trick in 2005. Happy new year everyone!
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