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Match Previews


12 April 2013

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All you need to know ahead of the clash with the Mariners

Who? Grimsby Town. You know, the team from Cleethorpes? Known as the Mariners, the club were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham and have been playing at their Blundell Park home since 1898.

Geography lesson It's a long way from Cleethorpes to Luton on a Friday night, as the 75 die-hard Town fans will tell you following January's FA Trophy tie. It's a 186-mile trip one way and it won't be until the small hours before the Mariners tuck themselves up for the night.

Top to bottom The Mariners were relegated to the Blue Square Bet Premier in 2010 and became the fourth side in English football to play in the fifth tier and the top flight. The Hatters, Oxford United and Carlisle United are the three other clubs.

Joined at the hip There once was a time when joint-managers was an in-thing. That's not so much the case any more, but Friday's visitors will have two bosses shouting from the sidelines. Joint-manager Paul Hurst and Rob Scott took over art Blundell Park in 2011.

Trophy cabinet The Mariners were a penalty shootout success away from adding to their list of silverware when they were defeated on penalties by Wrexham in the FA Trophy final at Wembley last month. However, the club have twice won today's equivalent of the Championship (in 1901 and 1934). In 1980 they won the old Third Division (now League One) and they've twice picked up the title in Division 3 (North). To cap it all the Mariners have also won the old Division Four (now League Two) and the Football League Trophy, in 1998.

Is that it? Definitely not. The Mariners are also the holders of the Lincolnshire Senior Cup...a trophy the club have won a staggering 38 times. 

How they doing? The Mariners sealed their place in the Play-Offs when coming from behind to beat Dartford 2-1 on Tuesday night. That win put them 10 points clear of their nearest challengers Hereford. Having been well in contention for the title, the Mariners' form nosedived in February and March but a six-match unbeaten run has helped steady the ship.

On the road The Mariners arrive at Kenilworth Road tonight as the team who have lost the least amount of games away from home in the Blue Square Bet Premier. They have only lost four matches on their travels, winning nine and drawing eight of the other 17 fixtures.

Knowing me, knowing you The Hatters will be hoping to equal Grimsby's record of 15 league victories over the Town on Friday. The Mariners have won 15, the Town 14, whilst there have been 12 draws in league competition. Overall the Mariners have the edge 18-15 in term of victories in all competitions. The Hatters' last win over the North Lincolnshire club came in October 2011 at Blundell Park when a goal from Tommy Wright earned a 1-0 win.

Telly addicts The game was originally scheduled to be the Hatters' final home game of the season. However, the subsequent postponements and rearrangement of the matches with Newport and Ebbsfleet have meant this won't be the case. The word “Friday” has already, and purposefully, cropped up almost a dozen times in this remember the game isn't this Saturday. Official Blue Square Bet Premier broadcasters Premier Sports TV will be screening the game live and it'll kick-off at 7.45pm. If you're not at Kenilworth Road, click here to subscribe to Premier Sports.

Just the ticket Remember you can take advantage of two great offers by watching the Hatters tonight. Under-17s can go free when accompanied by a full-paying adult, senior or golden senior, whilst season ticket holders can bring a guest for half-price. Click here for the full details.

Team news The Town will remain without goalkeeper Mark Tyler and midfielder Jake Howells as they continue to nurse knocks. Jake Goodman and Solomon Taiwo, who both missed the Tuesday win over Lincoln, are in contention to make a return. Ronnie Henry had an operation on a hernia on Thursday and is now out for the remaining five games this season.

Talk of the Town Remember our official matchday programme picked up a coveted award recently and, as ever, it’ll be on sale for £3 from the usual locations tonight. Crammed with the latest from the manager, captain, the boardroom and much more, including some never-before-seen photographs and memorabilia from the Hatters’ history. 

Still says (on transfer targets): “We have a nucleus, we need to add to it and when we do, I think we’ll be a bit stronger.

“None have come in yet, but I have identified some people that we want and we’ll be making inroads in that area in the next week or two.

“I know who I want and if I don’t get them, we’ll go after that. Will we get everyone we want? I doubt it, but if we can get as many as possible that will be okay.

“It’s very unusual to get everyone you want, but I’m not going to sign someone just to fill the space, I don’t really see the value in that.

“I’ll sign who I want and if I’ve got to wait for another year as they’re under contract, that’s what we’ll have to do.

“I said when I came in, it’s not a quick fix, it’s a project. Anyone can sign players, but if I can’t get who I want, then I’ll wait until the one I want comes along.”

Live and direct We’ll have all the news as it happens from Kenilworth Road. Pre-match build-up, team news, live text and audio commentary, a report, reaction, photographs and interviews. Remember to keep it, Hatters Player and check out our ever-growing Facebook and Twitter feeds #COYH

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