PREVIEW: Luton Town v Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town’s preparation for tomorrow’s trip to Luton was thrown into disarray with joint manager Rob Scott appearing to have left the club just a day before the game, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 6th September 2013, 8:34 pm

A vague statement on the Mariners official website simply said: “Paul Hurst will take sole charge of team matters at this time.

“The club will make a further statement in due course.”

Grimsby director John Fenty confirmed to local paper the Grimsby Telegraph that the apparent departure of Scott wasn’t down to Mariners’ indifferent results, with the club also remaining tight-lipped on whether he had left permanently.

Fenty also declined to comment that today’s changes are the result of any disciplinary issues either.

Town, who finished fourth last year, losing to Newport County in the play-offs, haven’t started this campaign in the worst form either, as they sit in eighth place with three wins from their opening six games.

A 1-1 draw against Aldershot on the opening day was followed by a fine 2-1 victory at Gateshead.

Mariners then lost 1-0 at Welling, but recovered to defeat both Alfreton and then Hyde, although they did lose 2-1 at home to Nuneaton in their last match on Saturday.

Before Scott’s departure, fellow joint boss Paul Hurst spoke to the media and is hoping to use what could be another large crowd at Kenilworth Road in front of the TV cameras against Hatters.

The Luton supporters have not been in the spirits at home this season, booing their side off against Macclesfield as Hurst said: “This is one club that gets more fans than us and they can influence how their team plays sometimes.

“Kenilworth Road is the kind of place where if we can quieten the big crowd and turn them against their own team, they can become our 12th man and do a job for us.

“If we do that, the pressure could weigh heavy on Luton, but if they get a head of steam up and the crowd get right behind them, it will be a tough afternoon.

“We’ve got to be better and braver in order to get on the ball tomorrow. Without it, we’ve got to make life harder for the opposition.

“If we do that, we will give Luton a good game. It would be nice to come back from last weekend’s defeat with a positive result.

“Luton is a difficult place to go and if we can come back with a good result, it will have been be a good weekend for us.”

Like Luton, Grimsby Town had a very quiet transfer deadline day on Monday, although they did bring in former Town defender Alan Goodall on loan from League Two Fleetwood to cover their defensive injury and suspension worries.

The Mariners were already without Clayton McDonald and Sam Hatton through injury when Aswad Thomas was dismissed during Saturday’s defeat against Nuneaton for kicking out at an opponent, meaning he is banned for three games.

Thomas has since apologised, in a statement on the club’s official website, saying: “I would firstly like to apologise for by behaviour during last week’s game against Nuneaton.

“My actions let myself down, my team-mates down, the management down and the fans down. My behaviour was unacceptable and was born out of frustration.

“I have been punished internally and I am hoping to draw a line under the incident. It was out of character and I will now be concentrating on working hard to make sure I am ready for selection when the ban is completed.”

Most of Grimsby’s business was done during the summer and involved signing up a host of former York City players, with no less than four ex-Minstermen moving to Blundell Park.

Defender Chris Doig joined on a one-year deal in a player-coach capacity after a successful trial, while winger Alex Rodman spent time on loan at York last season, playing 18 games.

Midfielder Patrick McLaughlin, a former Northern Ireland U21 international penned a two-year deal after he was released by York boss Nigel Worthington and joined former team-mate Scott Kerr, who was also told his services were no longer needed at Bootham Crescent.

Also joining Grimsby were former Port Vale defender McDonald, who made 26 appearances at Vale Park last season, before ending the campaign on loan at Bristol Rovers.

Another defender, Paul Bignot also agreed terms on a one-year contract, with the 27-year-old moving after his release from Blackpool, where he failed to make a first team appearance for the Championship club after joining from Newport in July 2011.

Former Town winger Scott Neilson also joined, while the likes of Ian Miller, Greg Pearson, Frankie Artus, Louie Soares, Derek Niven and a number of others were all moved on.

Team news: Mariners will definitely be without the services of Sam Hatton for Saturday’s trip to Luton who has a knee injury.

Full back Aswad Thomas is also out, as he is suspended, while centre half Clayton McDonald will have a fitness test as his continues his recovery from injury and illness.

Deadline day loan signing Alan Goodall looks set to make his debut at Kenilworth Road.

Hatters are without Anthony Charles (shoulder), Danny Fitzsimons (knee) and Jon Shaw (hernia), while Alex Lawless is expected to miss out once more, but Solomon Taiwo is back in training.

Top Skrill scorer - Hatters: Luke Guttridge (2). Mariners: Liam Hearn (2).

Man in the middle: Peter Banks - has officiated three games this season, showing a hefty 15 yellow cards and one red already.

Last term he was less card happy, with 65 yellows and three reds in his 24 games.

Was in charge of Luton twice, their 4-1 hammering at Grimsby, also live on TV, while he took the 1-0 defeat at Hereford too.

Banks also reffed Luton in the 2011-12 campaign, when they drew 1-1 at Bath City, when he dismissed two of the hosts players.

In charge: Rob Scott and Paul Hurst were joint managers of Grimsby until today’s news.

Scott, whose brother Andy is in charge of Aldershot, was a defender in his playing career, having spells at the likes of Sheffield United, Fulham, Carlisle United and Rotherham United amongst others.

Hurst was a defender from 1993 to 2008, notably playing his entire career for Rotherham United with over 400 appearances, bar a brief loan spell at Burton Albion.

While at Millmoor, Hurst was chosen for sponsorship by the magazine FourFourTwo in the 2007–08 season, after they announced they would sponsor a player from every team within the top four divisions in England.

After retiring from playing in 2008, they became joint managers of Ilkeston Town.

The pair led Ilkeston to promotion to Conference North via the play-offs, before moving to Boston United.

There, they gained a second promotion to Conference North through the play-offs again and completed a treble of trophies, winning the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup and Lincolnshire Senior Cup.

The pair resigned from Boston on March 2011 to join Grimsby, where they replaced the sacked Neil Woods.

View from the oppostion: Defender Shaun Pearson - “Against Nuneaton, we didn’t do ourselves any justice whatsoever and it’s been a tough week.

“You can see that there’s been a response from the rest of the lads.

“Everyone is itching for tomorrow’s game to come around so that we can try to put things right.

“That’s not just from a team perspective but on a personal level as well – that’s how I feel as an individual.

“I just want to get it out of my system and hopefully tomorrow will be more positive for me personally, but more importantly as a team and we get the result we want.

“Tomorrow is the perfect game for us to bounce back in.

“Obviously they’ll be the favourites and there’s more pressure on them and it would be great to go there and get the three points.

“Hopefully we can go out and give everyone that boost of belief again – the fans and the club as a whole.

“We need to show what a good side we are.”

One to watch: Liam Hearn - The 28-year-old striker netted 32 goals in his final season as Alfreton won promotion to the Conference National, earning a £30,000 move to Grimsby in June 2011.

Enjoyed a prolific first season at the club, netting 27 league goals, before injury ruined last term. He eventually came back in March and scored once in his six games, while Hearn has notched twice so far this campaign.

Friendly faces: Alan Goodall played one season for Town, making 29 league appearances and scoring once on his debut in a 2-1 League One win over Hartlepool.

Went on to play for Chesterfield, Rochdale, Newport, Stockport and Fleetwood before moving to Grimsby on deadline day

Winger Scott Neilson joined Luton after spending a loan spell at Blundell Park and despite scoring on his home debut against Barrow, only made eight appearances in total, before injury struck and he was then released by John Still.

Rejoined Grimsby on a free in the summer, but has made just one start and one sub appearance so far this campaign.

Arnaud Mendy also made one league appearance for the Mariners after joining on loan from Derby back in the 2009-10 season, a 2-0 home defeat by Rochdale.

We’ve got form: Hatters have a mixed record whenever Grimsby are in town, as they have won nine, lost eight and drawn six of their previous meetings at Kenilworth Road, scoring 45 goals and conceding 33.

Town do have a good recent run of results, unbeaten in four games, their last defeat coming back in Division Two during the 2003-04 season when Iain Anderson and Michael Boulding scored with Kevin Nicholls replying from the penalty spot late on.

Hatters have recorded two 6-0 wins over their opponents on home soil, the first over 100 years ago in December 1897 when Tom McInnes, Frederick Ekins, Robert Donaldson, James Coupar and Samuel Davies’ penalty secured the win in front of 5,000 fans.

Then, in October 1981, Town hit the Mariners for six once more as Steve White notched four times, with Lil Fuccillo and David Moss, with a penalty, on target, with 9,090 cheering Town on.

Hatters biggest defeat was a 4-1 thumping in Division One in November 1992, with Town’s only goalscorer Phil Gray.

Last time out: Town were held to a 1-1 draw by Grimsby last term. Dale Southwell put the Mariners ahead on 54 minutes, but that was cancelled out by Alex Lawless’ leveller with 14 minutes remaining.

Hatters: Dean Brill, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Steve McNulty, Scott Griffiths, Alex Lawless, Jon Shaw (Alex Wall 67), David Martin, Matt Robinson, Jonathan Smith, Solomon Taiwo, Andre Gray.

Subs not used: Simon Ainge, JJ O’Donnell, Dan Walker, Ben Barnes.

Attendance: 5,662.

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