Grimsby Town at Macclesfield: 'Silkmen have pace to burn'
AHEAD of this evening's Conference clash against Macclesfield, Mariners joint boss Paul Hurst gives Telegraph Football Writer Matt Dannatt a round-up of the latest issues at Blundell Park.
ON THE SILKMEN'S STRENGTHS...
" We've had a chat about Macclesfield with the players and talked about the strengths they have and the players that we feel may start for them. We've also looked at defending from the front and looking at ways that we can negate the way they play because there's no doubt that they can play if given the chance. They are a team that if they do get their noses in front, they have players that want the ball and can use it well. The biggest thing for me is that they've got players with pace who score goals, which straight away are good assets to have in a squad. It will be a really tough game for us tonight. We'll have to disrupt their flow and if we do that, then we feel we've got the players to also cause them some problems. Macclesfield are obviously keen to get back into the League at the first opportunity this season. It's not out of the equation for them at the moment but they'll be mindful that they can't drop too many more points and that makes them dangerous opposition tonight. It will be a tough test but we go there on the back of a home win and having reached a final. We'll try to put the points on the board."
ON THE 1-0 DEFEAT THIS SEASON....
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" We didn't get the result against them earlier in the season but we dominated them and we're still one of the few teams to have done that. We don't like people beating us and if they get the result they want tonight, it will mean they'll have done the double over us which isn't something that anyone has managed so far this season. That will be part of the motivation as well."
ON PLAYING A DAY EARLIER...
" It is what it is. It's on TV and sometimes the players might like that because family members have the chance to watch it. I'm sure there will be plenty in McMenemy's watching the game back at Blundell Park and getting behind us. But it's difficult because of the games that we've got and the busy schedule that we're in, but we'll make sure that the players are ready for it and I know they'll give everything to get the three points. We will take any victory, whether it's 1-0 or by the two goals that would take us back to the top overnight. Being top doesn't particularly interest me at this moment in time, but putting pressure on other teams does."
ON TEAM SELECTION...
" I think we'll change things around. Tonight comes quite quickly on the back of Tuesday night's game and before that, we had long trips to Dartford and Braintree, so there's been quite a bit of travelling for us recently. So we may well change one or two bodies again to try to keep things as fresh as possible. The front two did well on Tuesday night. Andy Cook scored and Ross Hannah set a goal up although we could have maybe broke a bit better at times. It's one area of the team that we've spoken about. We're lucky that we have real strength in depth in that area. That's the end of the pitch that we need to be at our sharpest. Up top, you've got to be ready to take the chance and work that first line of defence. We're pleased with the options that we've got in that area and the same can be said for wide areas, so there might be changes. Bradley Wood came in again the other night and was one of our best players. We've given Aswad Thomas a rest for a couple of games, so there's a decision to be made there, as all over the pitch."
ON THE NEXT FOUR GAMES...
" The next four games – Macclesfield, Forest Green Rovers, Mansfield and Kidderminster – will have a big impact on our season. On paper, they are hard games, but so far we've performed quite well against the top teams and the proof of where we are will come after this run. Nothing is straightforward in football, but they are games that we are really looking forward to and will be a good test.
ON IMPROVING PERFORMANCES...
" The 11 that are on the pitch hold the key to it ultimately. I don't think we rely on one player to make us play. On Tuesday, I feel we played some decent stuff first half, but in the second half it didn't really happen for us. Part of that was down to work-rate – we took our foot off the gas. That was always going to give Ebbsfleet a chance. We just need to remember what our jobs are and what's got us into the position we're in. If they work hard and the other bits will fall into place. A lot has been made of opposition teams coming to Blundell Park and having lots of possession, but every time we've looked at the replays after games at home, we've had more of the ball, so we can't have been that bad. Sometimes it gives a false impression of what's going on. That said, Ebbsfleet did have a lot of the ball on Tuesday and did force us back in the second half. But ultimately, we were more threatening."
ON SIMON FORD'S LOAN TO TELFORD....
" Simon has found it difficult to get in the team and, as a result, we haven't witnessed him playing first team football for us yet – which is obviously the reason he came to the club. The performances of the centre-backs that we've got has meant that he hasn't got that opportunity, but he's been a good pro and hasn't been an ounce of trouble for us. People think 'something must have gone on for him to leave', but that's not been the case. He's gone to Telford with our best wishes to play some football and hopefully improve Telford's results against some of our rivals. But if I'm honest Fordy (pictured left) probably won't be back after his loan.
ON TRANSFER ACTIVITY...
" There's nothing to report at the moment. We brought Tom Naylor in with the knowledge that Simon Ford might be going out, but, other than that, we are as we are."