Mariners & Imps Set To Challenge As Rivalry Resumes
Grimsby Town, it is safe to say, have rubbed our Lincolnshire snouts in it these last two years. The Mariners invested, they challenged, whilst Lincoln languished, happy to just make up the numbers in the BSP. Town will expect to be up there again this season, but the battle at Blundell Park and the Bank, boosted by ex-Captain Kerr, make this a campaign to look forward to with gentleman’s relish. With the rise of the Imps at hand something will have to give in Lincolnshire, a place where poachers have roamed since the dawn of time.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
But the Blue Square Bet era has gone, bringing with it the BT TV box-office epoch, hopefully another League sponsor, as well as new Sincil Bank broom Simmo and his six-foot soldiers. But we will need more than style and a smile if we are to be anything but pretenders to the Lincolnshire throne. Perchance true Brit Grit and Guile?
The Grimsby duo, Messrs Scott and Hurst, hatched a pre-season softly softly catchy monkey cunning ruse of a plan. No fees if you please, but they set the cheese, made for a patient wait, eager to see who sniffed the bait. The Mariners have been quiet in the market for sure, with quality and steel to the fore. Winger Scott Neilson has arrived from Luton to complement a new look midfield thanks also to York raids for Scott Kerr and Patrick McLaughlin. Oh Scotty Kerr how you made young Frecklington purr! They have kept Craig Disley suggesting this foursome are a formidable force who can and will dominate games at our level. A ball winning crew and supply line to boost an awesome array of attacking talent.
However the Mariners have lost inspirational characters and talent as part of a nine-man clear out, with even financial benefactor Mr Fenty, eager to balance the books in the face of new fair play break-even rules. Defenders, Wood, Miller and Ford, have gone to pastures new. Artus, Niven, Soares and Josh Morrall have vacated the midfield, but the replacements see improvement rather than concern. Greg Pearson is the only forward to leave, suggesting the duo are more than pleased with the multitude of blessings up front, in the form of hitman Hearn Hannah and Cook.
With just 15 plus the youths – something the Mariners have strength in – the managerial duo will be keen to add trialists to finish the squad. They have plenty coming, quality too if the grapevine is to be believed, with Scott and Hurst setting their stall out to bag bargains as soon as the season ended. The Mariners budget is still a magnet for even League 1 and 2 players who need a platform to kick-start flagging careers. Remember cast-offs in football are more to do with fall-outs and formation changes, than the fruit turning bad. Those are the words of a manager, not an agent or fan, likewise the sentiment that The Mariners will undoubtedly be there or thereabouts.
So why the Optimism in the red and white half of Lincolnshire? Quite simply the array of talent that will make up one of the hardest formations to play against. Simmo is a fan of the somewhat continental 4-2-3-1, espoused by the Dutch, the Germans et al. It worked to good effect with a poor side that raised the fallen and ended a season beset by relegation fear. The recruits he has brought in suggest we can do better than the Mariners even with big spending Cambridge, Luton, Barnet – boosted by the parachute payment – and FGR, Kidderminster and Wrexham very much in the mix.
Simmo first used this at Macclesfield – aka a Silkmen Spear of destiny – that had them on the verge of the playoffs after an awesome 3-1 win against Vale. Ridiculous player sales and injuries wrote what is now in the history books, to end a dream. Yet that will not happen at Lincoln with the two Davids eager to float our boat. The back four is strong, young but gaining in experience, with a non-shall-pass mantra that was awesome in the face of sustained bombardment towards the end of last year. Boosted by Jordan and Fofana, two dogs-of-war defensive midfield players, it forms a phalanx that allows the skirmishers to run riot on the counter.
The true thrust of Simmo’s spear aka the tricky trio can call upon the prowess of Fairhurst, Power, Rowe ,Sheridan, Nolan and Wright to tie the opposition in knots. Power has come back fitter and stronger, determined to lead by example – that thirst for glory is a talent to have back on track. The apex of the attack could be Yussuf, a n other ,or, one of those previously mentioned. But whatever the shape or size of the ultimate predator that midfield screams goals, without the overlapping wing-backs we have in the side.
So, it will not be as one-sided this season for our Fishy Foe, thank heavens we got another go. But in all seriousness the county needs it and, if, Lincoln get the luck with injuries and negotiate our opening 6 fixtures with a degree of success, we will take some stopping this season at all but the best. Though the formation may adapt, the ethos will not, with the desire further driven by the determination to do it for Butch and Keith. Yes team Lincoln has the makings, method and the madness to put the club back on the map. That may not be this season but they will go whistle to whistle because Simmo and City will sweat blood and guts for glory this season in pursuit of what a club of our stature deserves.
A tenner each way on Lincoln fellow Imps, ’tis time the bookies took a bashing.