Gateshead game is Grimsby Town's chance to put things right - if it goes ahead
PAUL Hurst admits he will be as disappointed as any Grimsby Town fan if, as expected, tonight’s game at Gateshead is called off.
The clash looks certain to be postponed for a second time, with a pitch inspection scheduled for this morning likely to deem the surface unplayable.
The sides were originally due to meet back in December, but that match had to be called off because of a frozen pitch.
But just over a month on, the North East club are still experiencing problems with a playing surface that has already forced four postponements this season.
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Joint boss Hurst, pictured, says his squad have prepared in anticipation of the tie being on – adding that he hopes the Mariners will be given the chance to maintain their push at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier.
“We were in a similar situation with the last game where it looked as though it was going to go ahead and then it was called off at the last minute,” he told the Telegraph.
“But we want to play and we hope the game is on because we’re always looking for the next game to come around.
“There is a frustration there from Saturday from not only the players, but us as managers, and the fans, and we want to have the chance to put that right tonight.
“We want to remain top and if we play the game then we give ourselves a chance to do that. If the games start piling up, then you can slip down the league.
“As far as we know, it’s game on,” he continued.
“I know there is a pitch inspection this morning, but we’ve planned and prepared as if there’s going to be a game and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve trained as though the game is going to be on and we hope it is.
“As players and managers, until such a time as you get that news through that the game is off, you have to be focused and have prepared right.
“There are obviously problems with the goalmouths there, but as the rest of the pitch goes, we’ll have to wait and see.
“But if it’s really heavy and it makes passing difficult, we’ll have to adapt to it.
“We’re confident that whatever the conditions are, we’ve got a team that is more than capable of adapting to them.”
If the game does go ahead, Hurst revealed that Anthony Elding will travel to the North East with the Town squad as his protracted loan switch to Preston rumbles on.
Shaun Pearson is set to be recalled to the squad for Nathan Pond, who has returned to parent club Fleetwood Town.
But other than that, Hurst doesn’t foresee making too many changes to the side that drew with Hereford on Saturday.
He said: “We’ve obviously got a couple of options within the squad but in general, we thought it was a pretty good performance, if not a winning one.
“We don’t feel there’s a big need to change too much.
“If it goes ahead, I think it will be a good game of football.
“I don’t think for one minute that Gateshead are going to set up to play for a point – if I’m proved wrong then so be it.
“I certainly don’t envisage a cagey affair – it will be two teams looking to get three points – that will certainly be our approach.
“We feel that we’ve got players that are as good as, if not better than most teams in this league.
“I just hope we can get the game on.”