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Match Previews

Barnet Preview

Andy Phillips previews the League Two clash with Barnet at Blundell Park.

13 April 2018

Rex Features

Town host Barnet at Blundell Park on Saturday afternoon (3pm) as they look for another huge victory against another side that are locked in a relegation battle.

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Mitch Rose's late penalty come away with their first victory in 21 games last Saturday afternoon and allowed the Mariners to pull five points away from the relegation zone, so another victory against the Bees would be a massive boost as they look to secure safety.

With Barnet also fighting for their lives and seemingly having a renewed sense of optimism following Martin Allen's return to the club, it will be a difficult encounter but one that is likely to have huge rewards for the winning side.

Town close to full fitness

Town are now close to full fitness ahead of the game, and could receive a boost with the returns of Simeon Jackson and Ben Davies after they took part in training over the course of the week, whilst Karleigh Osborne is also pushing for a place in the squad.

The only player that won't be playing in the game is Malik Wilks, with the young Leeds United loanee being back with his parent club and it is touch and go as to whether he will be able to make a return before the end of te campaign.

It seems Barnet are having big injury problems leading up tho the clash and  Elliott Johnson, Dave Tarpey, Harry Taylor, Mauro Vilhete, Jamie Stephens, George Legg, Fuad Sule, Simeon Akinola, Darnell Smith and Ephron Mason-Clark are all likely to miss out for them.

Allen looking to save Barnet from relegation

It has been a difficult season for Barnet but they have given themselves somewhat of a fighting chance under Martin Allen and are now off the bottom of the table after two wins from his four games in charge.

The last of those was a 1-0 victory over Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, where a goal from Alex Nicholls was enough to earn six points for the Bees.

Manager Allen returned for his fifth spell in charge in March, taking over from Graham Westley and is the man that led them back to the EFL by winning the the National League back in 2016.

The Bees still have a number of players from the side that won promotion, most notably striker John Akinde, who has struggled with injuries this season but remains one of the most potent strikers in this division on his day.    

Earlier in the season

The reverse fixture between the two sides saw the Mariners come away with a 2-0 victory at the Hive back in November.

Goals from Jamille Matt and Sam Jones made the difference that day in a strong away performance, as the Bees were also reduced to to ten men when Dwight Pascal received his marching orders midway through the second half.

Managers in summary

Michael Jolley: ''What I'd say about Barnet is they've recently changed their manager, they have a very experienced man in Martin Allen and he's won two of his four matches in charge so we can be under no illusions that it's gonna be an incredibly tough fixture. They're gonna be fighting for their lives, they're in a similar position to us so it's very much like the Chesterfield game. It's a massive game, I'm sure Martin will have his team very well organised and difficult to beat and a threat, so we've got to be ready to take that challenge on.''  

Martin Allen: "On Saturday we face Grimsby away who have hit form and have the backing of a passionate 8,000 people. It is a club with great history and I used to love watching Alan Buckley's team punching above their weight just a few years ago. I'm really looking forward to Saturday, I just love these special days.

"On the injury front, we are missing Elliott Johnson, Dave Tarpey, Harry Taylor, Mauro Vilhete, Jamie Stephens, George Legg, Fuad Sule, Simeon Akinola, Darnell Smith and Ephron Mason-Clark. We have late fitness tests for Ricardo Santos, Dan Sweeney and John Akinde so we have added a couple of Youth Team players to the squad.

"Unfortunately, all the training pitches have been flooded this week but we have done our best to prepare the best we can.

"It's a long way to go and a difficult journey which costs a lot of money and after our last performance away from home, I can fully understand how most supporters would not want to make the journey."


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