Anthony Elding intends to fight for starting place in Grimsby Town squad
ANTHONY Elding insists he won't be giving up his Grimsby Town starting spot without a fight.
The 30-year-old striker struck up a deadly partnership with Mariners top scorer Liam Hearn last season, as the pair terrorised Blue Square Bet Premier defences.
In total, the duo bagged 45 goals, with former Leeds United and Crewe Alexandra man Elding weighing in with 16 and a hatful of assists.
However, the signings of forwards Greg Pearson and Andy Cook – and emergence of Town youngster Dayle Southwell – have turned up the heat in the battle for attacking places.
And Elding, who arrived at Blundell Park last summer from Rochdale, welcomes the challenge ahead of the new campaign, which begins at Southport on Saturday.
He told the Telegraph: "I've heard people say that I might not play as much this season as I did last year, which if I'm honest is a bit unfair.
"Last year, me and Liam got 45 goals so that speaks for itself, but I take criticism on board as well as praise.
"Whoever starts in the team will have to battle to keep their shirt because the other guys are going to be pushing them hard.
"I certainly know that if I'm not in the team I'll be pushing them all the way to get my spot back."
With Pearson and Cook just two of Town's eight summer arrivals, Elding believes that level of competition runs right through the team.
He says that strength in depth, combined with the squad's excellent team spirit, gives the Mariners a fantastic opportunity to mount a promotion challenge this season.
Elding added: "If I'm not playing I will encourage the lad that is playing, but I will do everything I can to get back in that starting 11 and work even harder to ensure I stay there.
"That's what we all want to do – play football.
"At my age I want to play as many games as I can, I don't want to be sitting on the bench.
"Even in running at training everyone is competitive. No one wants to be at the back, everybody wants to be at the front.
"The team spirit is absolute quality – hopefully we can push on and achieve something this year because it's a fantastic club with a great tradition and it deserves to be in the Football League."