Grimsby Town manager Ian Holloway expects smiles on his players’ faces in his first game in charge against Mansfield Town at Field Mill tomorrow (3pm).
The 56-year-old takes charge of his first match as Town boss tomorrow as the Mariners look to kick on from the 1-0 Sky Bet League Two win over Salford City at Blundell Park on New Year’s Day.
And Holloway expects his side to enjoy the challenge, and work extremely hard – starting with tomorrow’s clash with Graham Coughlan’s Stags.
Speaking on iFollow Mariners, he said: “I don’t need to change much because I’m really pleased with them. I liked what I saw on New Year’s Day – I want to keep the thing going if I can.
“It’s just a privilege to be here, and I’m delighted to work with the players I’ve got and I’ve got to get to know them.
“I like my own players, I like working with my own squad, and I like looking at our academy setup and giving young lads a chance.
“I was delighted for Ahkeem Rose to get his goal on New Year’s Day – he gave everybody a lift when he came on.
“I’ve told him to hit his shot a little bit harder because it took too long to go in – it took nearly two days to go in!
“But it was lovely, and hopefully that will give the lads a little bit of freedom to enjoy themselves because they’re all smiling at the moment.
“I’m expecting enjoyment, smiles on people’s faces, and another massive dose of hard work.
“I want to say thank you to the fans – I feel like I know you already, and I’ve never been made to feel quite so welcome.
“It’s overwhelming – I really am thoroughly enjoying it – and it doesn’t quite feel real yet.”
Holloway praised Mansfield boss Coughlan, and said he’s looking forward to meeting him tomorrow.
He said: “I’m going to be shaking Graham Coughlan’s hand because I’m a Gashead, and he was brilliant for us at Bristol Rovers.
“At the time I was horrified he left the club, but I’m very pleased for him and his family that he’s a lot closer to them.
“He’s got a big challenge on his hands, and I’ve got an even bigger one now because he’s had longer at the helm than I have here.
“They won 3-2 on New Year’s Day, and I can’t wait to see him because he’s a wonderful fellow.”
Holloway said he wants to assess his squad of players before making any movement in the January transfer window.
He said: “I can’t wait for next week to get a few more of my things settled.
“I’ve got two good coaches in Anthony Limbrick and Ben Davies so I’m looking at getting them to help me over the next week or so.
“I’m looking forward to implementing what I want, and let them do that if I need to be in trying to do some deals.
“My phone melted against my ear yesterday, and I’m flattered that people might want their players to come play the way I might want to play.
“Some of the players I’ve had before have rung me to ask if they can come here, and saying really nice things.
“But I’ve just got to hold it all back, take a breather, talk to the club, and take a look how it’s all going.
“I need to be fair to everybody here, and see them, and get the information I need – I’ve got to give people a chance.
“But I will be looking to strengthen, and I’ll be trying to assess as quickly as I can because I haven’t got that information yet and I’d be completely stupid if I did anything too early.”
Jordan Cook is injured for the game, while James Hanson and Matt Green also remain out.