THE Mariners are expected to be without Striker Ross Hannah for tomorrow’s visit of Cambridge United.
The front man suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has troubled him since the opening day of the season. Boss Paul Hurst said the risk of allowing him to play against the U's was too great: "If he plays tomorrow night, there’s a chance he could aggravate the injury, and that'll keep him on the sidelines for twice as long. I'm hoping he'll only be out of action for one or two weeks at most right now.
"It'll be massively frustrating for him."
Hurst is also likely to hand Aswad Thomas a place in the starting line-up in place of Alan Goodall, whose loan spell at Blundell Park ended recently. Asked about whether he had considered extending Goodall's stay in Cleethorpes, he answered: "If he'd still been with us, he would have been injured anyway, he picked up a knock in that last game.
"Alan did well for us. Initially he was brought in to cover Aswad's suspension but he staked his claim for a place in the starting 11 and as it turned out Aswad has had to wait to come back.
"It was nice to see Aswad get some game time against Tamworth"
On the subject of possible formations for this game, Hurst acknowledged his team’s success after having reverted back to their original 4-4-2 in recent games, but said he remained open to the possibility of changing things around again if necessary
He said: "Of course I've seen how well we've done over the past few games, We've not done everything right but in truth the last few games have been a lot better. It's a case of weighing up the options, but I am still leaning toward the two strikers given recent results."
Hurst said he expects a tough game from the Skrill Premier's early pace setters, acknowledging the challenge that lay ahead for his players, against a team that have conceded just 6 all season and remain unbeaten:
“They've had an exceptional start to the season and so far no one has managed to beat them. They're scoring goals but more than that they're not conceding them. When you do both those things together you're always going to give yourself a good chance of getting something from each game."
The manager said that despite it still being early days in the season, this could already be a pivotal game for the Mariners.
"We're not a third of the way through yet but already this could be one of those crucial games.
"It's a big test for us because they're not letting any in, so if at any point they get their noses in front, they could make it very hard for us to come back from."
He concluded by saying that focus was key: "We've just got to focus on our own performance and not make this test more difficult than it needs to be."
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