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Match Previews

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Grimsby Town

We take a closer look at this weekend's opponen

17 November 2017

Following a stunning win against Yeovil last weekend, Keith Curle’s men are in league action once again as they travel to face Grimsby Town.

Grimsby lost out in their last outing, so will be keen to bounce back on home soil when the Cumbrians come to town.

With little to separate the sides in Sky Bet League Two, it could prove a pivotal fixture as both clubs look to move up the table.

We put The Mariners under the spotlight ahead of our visit to the Blundell Park:

Last Week a Blip?

While Grimsby were on the end of defeat in their last league game - beaten 2-0 by Exeter City - they were in a good vein of form before that.

Slade’s side had gone seven league games unbeaten prior to their trip to Devon, although five of those games had been draws.

And those stalemates have caught up with the Mariners who sit in 15th place - level on points with Carlisle and only four points off the play-offs.

The seaside outfit will be hoping that last defeat was merely a blip and if they can hit the ground running once again against United then they could surge up the table.

Striking Changes a Possibility

Grimsby skipper Nathan Clarke has urged his side to get on the front foot when the Blues visit - so could his manager be tempted to change his attacking selections?

Ex-Newcastle United man JJ Hooper put forward his case for a start on Saturday with a brace for the Mariners’ reserves in a 5-0 win over Burton Albion.

His strike partner on the afternoon, Harry Cardwell, also netted in the comprehensive win as both attempt to force their way into Slade’s thoughts.

Could Grimsby be tempted to try something different? The experienced Scott Vernon will be keen to retain his striking berth while former Fleetwood front man Jamille Matt will also be in Slade’s thoughts.

What Does History Tell Us?

The two sides have met regularly in recent years - and it’s Grimsby who have the better of the meetings.

Of the 42 times the pair have faced off, the Mariners have claimed victory in 22 of them with Carlisle triumphant on only nine occasions.

Recent form certainly favours Grimbsy, too, with the Black and Whites having claimed two victories from the last four meetings in all competitions - the other two ending in draws.

Last season saw two United take a point from Blundell Park, however, as the two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Watch highlights from our last visit to Blundell Park here:

Mixed Record at the Seaside

While United’s recent trips to Grimsby have been fairly successful, it hasn’t always been the case.

Before the draw last season, the Blues won their previous league visit to Blundell Park courtesy of a Zigor Aranalde brace in January 2006.

But prior to that, United had gone over 50 years without a win on the Mariners’ home soil with the last triumph coming in the 1952/53 campaign.

Curle will be hoping he doesn’t have to wait quite that long to claim another victory in Grimsby.

Ones to Watch

+ James McKeown - Having consistently been one of the best goalkeepers in the National League during Grimsby’s time in non-league, McKeown has stepped up into the Football League with no problems and has established himself as a fine stopper. Commanding in the area and with good distribution, the keeper is a real asset to this Grimsby side.

+ James Berrett - A familiar face to United fans having spent four years at Brunton Park, Berrett joined the Mariners in 2016 having left York City. The box-to-box midfielder has matured with age and continues to prove effective at both ends of the pitch with some timely interventions in the defensive third and plenty of attacking contributions too. A leader within the Grimsby side, Berrett will need to be watched carefully or he could return to haunt his former employers.

+ Martyn Woolford - Grimsby turned a few heads with their signing of Woolford over the summer, with the winger having departed Championship outfit Sheffield United following their promotion. Having netted almost 60 career goals, Woolford offers a real attacking threat and has plenty of experience of playing at a much higher level. Lively in and around the penalty area, United will need to pay attention to his creativity come Saturday.


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