Paul Hurst’s side make the short trip to Alfreton on Easter Monday followed by a 2,500-strong contingent of Mariners fans, still believing in Town’s title chances after Craig Disley’s late equaliser against Gateshead on Saturday. The hunt for automatic promotion took a hit over Easter Weekend with both Barnet and Bristol Rovers winning, but both clubs remain within Grimsby’s reach as the season nears its conclusion.
Alfreton come in to this match on the back of a 4-0 defeat at Wrexham, their fifth consecutive game without a win. Nicky Law’s side lie one place and six points above the relegation zone with just four fixtures remaining but should go on to retain their Conference Premier status, unless Welling or Nuneaton can manage an unlikely great escape.
League leaders Barnet will play their match, away at Dartford, at an earlier time of 12:45, so Hurst and his squad are likely to know that result before the match at North Street gets underway. Town are unbeaten in nine games and no team in the division has picked up more points on the road this season. Alfreton have yet to beat Grimsby in seven attempts, while those seven matches have yielded a total of 39 goals, an average of 5.5 per game.
Any changes to the side that started on Saturday are likely to be an attempt to keep the squad fresh, with no injury concerns for Hurst to consider on Monday afternoon. Shaun Pearson and Aristote Nsiala are both a couple of cautions away from a suspension, so it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see one of them rested, with Danny Parslow and Josh Gowling waiting in the wings. At the other end of the pitch, Jon-Paul Pittman could come in for either Lenell John-Lewis or Ollie Palmer.
Two former Town players are set to line up for the hosts on Monday. Bradley Wood was named Alfreton’s player of the year last season and has been virtually ever-present since joining The Reds, while Andi Thanoj chose not to renew his contract at Blundell Park and signed for the Derbyshire club at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign. Joe Ironside had a trial with the Mariners in pre-season and he could partner veteran Karl Hawley in attack, with Jake Speight another option for Nicky Law to ponder. Alfreton recently signed winger Jimmy Phillips on loan from Burton and he could earn a recall to the starting eleven, having been a substitute on Saturday.
Possible Mariners XI: McKeown, Magnay, Pearson, Nsiala, Robertson, Mackreth, Disley, Brown, Arnold, Pittman, Palmer
Possible Alfreton XI: Flynn, Wood, Howe, Graham, Rowe-Turner, Johnston, Bradley, Thanoj, Phillips, Speight, Hawley
01/10/2011: Grimsby 5-2 Alfreton
07/01/2012: Alfreton 2-5 Grimsby
09/10/2012: Alfreton 0-2 Grimsby
02/02/2013: Grimsby 4-2 Alfreton
24/08/2013: Grimsby 3-1 Alfreton
18/04/2014: Alfreton 3-3 Grimsby
25/08/2014: Grimsby 7-0 Alfreton
“I would have preferred Alfreton to have won [on Saturday], that would have just about seen them safe, and we’ll expect a response from the result (4-0 loss at Wrexham) they’ve had. But ultimately we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves and go and perform again.” Paul Hurst.
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