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Scouting Report: Grimsby Town

27 January 2020

Ahead of Tuesday's game at Blundell Park, we take a closer look at our upcoming opponents...

The Basics…

Located in North East Lincolnshire, Grimsby are now into their fourth season back in Sky Bet League Two, after they defeated fellow League Two rivals Forest Green Rovers 3-1 in the 2016 National League Play-Off Final. The Mariners have been able to maintain their status in the fourth division although were almost relegated in 2018, but for the team picking up 10 points from their final four games to avoid the drop.

The Club enjoyed huge success throughout the league pyramid in the late 80s and 90s under the guidance of Grimsby legend Alan Buckley. After gaining promotion from the Fourth Division (League Two) to the First Division (Championship), the Mariners stayed in the second tier until 2003. The fans suffered for the next few years though and seven seasons later, dropped out of the Football League in 2009/10.  

Latest Form…

Before Stevenage’s 2-1 win over Grimsby back in October, The Mariners were eyeing up a potential Play-Off push and sat just outside the top seven by two points. Nine games later and with no further wins on the board, the Club started to slip further and further down the pecking order, meaning a change of manager was felt as a necessary switch to rescue their season.

With Michael Jolley out and Ian Holloway in, the new Manager bounce came into immediate affect on New Year’s Day, as the team wasted no time in grabbing their first win under their new boss when they defeated Salford 1-0 at Blundell Park. That was followed up another 1-0 win at Mansfield, but the team are now three games without a win, and have lost their two, including letting a 2-1 lead slip against Crawley Town to lose 3-2 last time out. The Mariners are currently sat in 19th place – eight points off Boro at the bottom of the table.

Star Man…

Experienced striker James Hanson was nominated as the League Two Player of the Month in August after bagging five goals and creating three assists for The Mariners during a terrific start to the season. The 31-year-old signed a two-year deal at the Club this season after leaving AFC Wimbledon in League One.

Hanson started his professional career at Bradford City and scored over 70 goals for the Club. He was a part of their famous 2013 League Cup run that ended with a 5-0 defeat against Swansea City in the final and picked a League One winners medal whilst at Sheffield United in 2016/17, but only lasted another season at Bramall Lane before being let go on a free transfer.

The Gaffer…

Ian Holloway was named manager on 29th December 2019 after taking over from Michael Jolley with the aim to steer the team away from any potential relegation battle. At the same time, Holloway was also named as share-holder of Grimsby Town. The 56-year-old knows one or two things about turning a team into promotion winners; he has enjoyed success in winning the Championship Play-Off Final with Crystal Palace (2010) and Blackpool (2013) and also finished as runners-up and promotion winners from League One with Queens Park Rangers in 2004.

The former midfielder played just under 600 games throughout his playing career after starting at Bristol Rovers where he picked up a Third Division winners medal. He later went onto to play for teams such as Wimbledon, Brentford, Queens Park Rangers and later finished his career where it all started at the Memorial Stadium.

Previous Meetings…

Boro have enjoyed their fair share of positive results against the Mariners, having won five, drawn one and only lost one from seven meetings between the two sides. Stevenage picked up their first win this season against Grimsby at the Lamex Stadium, when Kurtis Guthrie and Charlie Carter fired the team into a 2-0 lead at half time and were able to see out the victory as Ahkeem Rose scored in the final ten minutes to set up a nervous ending.

A real highlight for Stevenage against Tuesday's opposition came towards the end of last season, when Kurtis Guthrie bagged a brace with the help of Ilias Chair's assists to win 2-0 at Blundell Park, sparking a late play-off push for Boro.

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