Marcus Bignot talks to the press ahead of Saturday's trip to The Alexandra Stadium.
Grimsby Town manager Marcus Bignot says Saturday’s match at 21st-placed Crewe could be won or lost in the middle of the park.
Speaking at his press conference today, boss Bignot said David Artell’s men will have a similar approach to the Mariners going into the game.
He said: “It’s going to be a footballing game. They’ll certainly want to get it down and play and so do we so it’ll be a game in terms of in that midfield who can dominate.”
And Bignot admitted Saturday will be “special” for him as he takes Town to face the club that recruited him from the National League in 1997 and gave him a chance to play in the Championship.
“They got me out of the National League and put me straight into the Championship for three years and I’m forever grateful for Dario Gradi and Neil Baker and all the guys for what they’ve done for me there so it holds a special place in my heart, that club, and I’ll always wish them well,” he said. He also told Mariners Player that he feels their current league position is deceiving.
“They go in cycles from seasons where they’re doing really well. It’s generally a young squad and it takes time to adapt but they seem to find their feet and excel, so it’s just part of their cycle. I expect them to move forward in the future,” he said.
Bignot confessed he uses a lot of what he learnt at Crewe, where he played alongside notable names such as Danny Murphy, Dele Adebola, and Gareth Whalley, regularly in his job as Town manager.
He said: “I’ve learnt that model from Crewe, in terms of producing your own, looking after your own, and then reinvesting in the infrastructure, how to produce players. It’s second to none.”
The gaffer went on to confirm Luke Maxwell’s return from injury is imminent, but admitted it will be a challenge for the midfielder to get a place in the team in order to make his Town debut.
“It’ll be very difficult for him to get into the side and that’s what we want. We want competition in every area. We want to build a squad which has a lot of flexibility in it and be able to adapt to different scenarios,” he said.
And despite the January transfer window only closing last week, Bignot admitted that contract talks with his players have already started taking place.
“Those who have been playing or in and around it, whose contracts are up, conversations have already been had and hopefully now things can materialise.
“We’ve spoken to every player. So those who are out of contract, who we’ve tried to help in this window in terms of we’re not in a situation to give them any assurances or commitments for the season after, they’ve been told.”
With James Berrett already out, Town’s injury list grew further this week as Dom Vose suffered another blow.
“We’ve had a setback with Dom Vose. We just don’t seem to be able to get him to complete a full week’s training. He’s been for an ultrasound scan and it’s a recurring tear in his thigh.
“Disappointing because it’s one player we want to move forward with this season. I think he can help a lot with us in those forward areas.”
There have been two outgoings from Blundell Park this week with Luke Summerfield making a loan switch to Macclesfield Town and Ashley Chambers moving to Nuneaton Town, also on loan, and the boss thinks there could be “maybe one or two more going out” before the end of the season.
Bignot praised both players for their attitude and feels the moves are beneficial for all.
“All parties in the end are happy. Throughout this he (Luke Summerfield) remained he’s remained very professional so we wish him all the best.
“Ash (Ashley Chambers) has been a victim of the circumstances of how the squad has evolved and where we’re going to. And again, a situation where it’s not too far away from home, he’s around familiar faces; the manager there he played with at Leicester so obviously he can get back playing and get himself in the shop window and hopefully get himself sorted out for next season.”
With a win this Saturday, the Mariners could move up to eighth – just one spot away from the play-off places.
Watch all of the Press Conference.