Grimsby Town: Let's give fans a reason to cheer, says Hurst
GRIMSBY Town joint boss Paul Hurst is calling for one last winning performance from his players against Southport today (1pm) to send the fans into the summer break on a high.
The 37-year-old knows the Blundell Park faithful will miss their Saturday afternoon fix of football, despite the continuation of the Premier League and this summer's European Championships for England.
And nothing would please him more than a victory to repay the support of the fans who he believes have been encouraged by the progress of the side this season.
Hurst said: "We have spoken about players missing the games after Saturday and I'm sure it's the same for fans.
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"There are some big matches coming up on TV like Monday's Manchester derby, the FA Cup and Champions' League finals and then the Euros.
"There is football to watch but for many it's not their team and they will miss coming to Blundell Park.
"There are those who only like to watch their own team.
"We want to send them home happy this afternoon with a good display and three points to end on.
"We've had good support throughout the season and they deserve praise.
"Away from home you get a core of fans who travel and that's fantastic but we've had decent crowds at home too.
"We fully respect the fans that do turn up because we realise it's difficult times for people financially.
"They turn up in their numbers and it's appreciated.
"I spoke at the awards night this week about a better feeling and a belief around the place compared to the end of last season.
"It has taken a while to get there but I believe we can all look forward to next season positively."
Hurst may want a winning end to the campaign to leapfrog today's opponents Southport, but he knows it won't be an easy ride.
Town were forced to battle hard against Liam Watson's physical outfit to snatch a late win on the west coast in February and the co-boss expects another tough encounter against a team that has been in play-off contention for much of the campaign.
He added: "I'm sure Southport will want to end the season well after just coming up short like ourselves.
"I'm sure Liam and his squad will be disappointed after being right up there.
"But at the start of the season they would have been happy to finish where they are.
"I think he's certainly up there for manager of the season in our league for what he's achieved.
"He has done a really good job after the disappointing finish they had last season battling relegation.
"It's a different proposition we face tomorrow to most games in this league.
"It's easy for people to criticise but not too many criticise Stoke for a similar approach.
"I was watching Barcelona against Chelsea this week and some pundits criticised them for only being able to play one way; maybe they need to get the ball swung into the box more at times like Stoke or Southport.
"Liam's side play to their strengths and they do it extremely well.
"It will be a hard-fought game for us."