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Grimsby Town assistant manager Paul Wilkinson says it will be important to get a good result in the Mariners’ first home league game of the season this weekend.
Town welcome Coventry City to Blundell Park on Saturday (3pm) and Wilkinson has emphasised the importance of the Mariners’ home form this season.
Speaking on iFollow Mariners, he said: “It’s a big thing for us, and the first home game it’s important to get all three points if possible.
“Everybody wants their home form to be really strong and to be the place – in front of their home fans – where they pick up most of the points.
“It’s another good test for us and it’ll be a good yardstick for where we are at this moment in time.
“We saw their game from the weekend against Notts County, they played very well – very well-organised and we’re going to have to make sure that we’re fully ready for them.
“It’s going to be a tough game. I know Mark Robins – their manager – well, he’s a good friend of mine and obviously it’s going to be a tough afternoon.”
Wilkinson also said Town boss Russell Slade – who had a spell in charge of the Sky Blues last season – will be looking forward to the Mariners’ first home game in Sky Bet League Two this season.
“When you go against your old clubs, you’re always looking forward to it – you’re always looking to do well against them – and obviously you have a lot of friends and people you’ve known well there.
“He’ll be looking forward to seeing them, and the most important thing is that they’re coming to our ground and into our back yard and we want to make sure that we’re ready for it,” he said.
Wilkinson said new signings Diallang Jaiyesimi and JJ Hooper should both be involved in Saturday’s visit of the Sky Blues, while Zak Mills is still suspended – as Tuesday’s Carabao Cup game with Derby was abandoned – and Sam Kelly will be assessed tomorrow.
“It’s great to have a couple more bodies [Diallang Jaiyesimi and JJ Hooper] in the building and both lads have come in fully fit and are raring to go, and obviously they’ll be in and around the squad.
“I’ve worked a little bit with JJ last year at Northampton – he came on loan for a few games – so I’ve seen him play and he’s a good character, he’s good around the place.
“He [JJ Hooper] gives us a little bit more strength and power, gives us a bit more of a target man-type scenario, so he gives us different options and we need that.
“Jaiyesimi, again, he’s a strong boy, good feet, he’s got pace, and we’ve been very impressed with him – we’ve watched him a couple of times at Norwich.
“And having been at Norwich a couple of years ago, I know some people there and they’ve got very high hopes for him so it’s a good coup for us really.
“And hopefully he’ll come in and have the same impact as Dembele and one or two of the others have had.
“As far as we know, he [Zak Mills] will be missing because I think the game actually has to be fully played so obviously his suspension carries over, which is unfortunate but Ben Davies came in the other night and did well so we’ve no problems with that at all.
“Sam Kelly had a knock from last weekend but, apart from that, everybody else is fine. He’s done well – he’s taken part in training today – and we’ll assess him tomorrow and see how he is.
“Probably 50/50 at the moment. He’s one of them that day-by-day he’s getting better, but at the moment we’re just going to assess things tomorrow.”
He said that Town may still bring in more additions to the club before the transfer deadline on August 31.
“Everybody obviously wants to keep improving. We’ve done well so far throughout the time that we’ve been in, and obviously we’re looking to keep strengthening and keep improving the squad.
“If the right people become available and we can do some more business, then we will.
“We’ve got a strong mentality with the squad at the moment, they all get on really well and that’s an important thing in football nowadays, and we want people that are coming in to be able to slot into that.
“We’re trying to look at different ways of building the squad. We are looking to bolster one or two other options and areas that we think we need to improve upon.”
And the assistant boss – who returned to Blundell Park earlier this year following a 14-year absence from the club – added that he’s enjoying being back at Town, and is relishing his new challenge.
He said: “Everybody wants to move the club forward and that’s the most important thing.
“The supporters last Saturday were fantastic and that just shows how they will get behind the team and keep behind the team if we keep trying to do the right things.
“It’s brilliant, I love it. It’s my hometown so it’s great for me to come back and be around and be part of it.”