Grimsby Town bosses ponder team formation for Braintree clash
GRIMSBY Town may make a departure from their trusted 4-4-2 formation for tomorrow's clash with Braintree Town (3pm), writes Lee Jones.
Having opted for a four-man midfield for much of the season, the Mariners bosses were impressed with a switch to 4-3-3 in last weekend's victory over Woking.
Town are boosted by the return of Scott Neilson from his three-match suspension for the visit of the Iron.
But the hosts are definitely without Frankie Artus after joint boss Rob Scott revealed that the midfielder faces three to four weeks out after a hernia operation.
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Winger Joe Colbeck is also a doubt with the medial knee ligament problem he sustained against the Cards.
That injury saw him substituted, which prompted the change in Town's system.
"We'll have a look at how we decide to set-up formation-wise tomorrow," Scott told the Telegraph.
"We know we can play 4-4-2 because we've been playing it for the majority of the season, but last Saturday we played the 4-3-3 system very well.
"Maybe that's something to do with the players who were in the formation in the front-three – there was pace on either side.
"Ross (Hannah) did a good job on one side and Marcus (Marshall) has obviously got the pace, so we'll have a look at it and decide nearer the time."
He continued: "We always knew the type of players we wanted to bring to the club were wingers.
"That said, you can still play 4-3-3 with wingers, and the pleasing thing for us on Saturday was the rotation of the midfield three and the front three.
"They didn't just stick in their positions, it was about movement and rotating positions, and that caused Woking problems.
"It's something that we're pleased we can work on, and I'm sure it will show itself at certain times of the season.
"All the way through this league, teams play different formations now and it can give you problems because people get time on the ball and you have to try to combat that.
"We changed it at the right time on Saturday and it certainly worked to our advantage."
Neilson returned to action on Tuesday with 65 minutes for Town's Reserves against Chesterfield and could be a like-for-like replacement for fellow wide man Colbeck.
"Scott Neilson looked sharp on Tuesday and looked to do what he usually does, so it served a purpose," added Scott.
"It's a boost to have him back, especially because Joe could be unavailable, so he could slot in there.
"Joe is struggling, although we'll continue to monitor him. It's probably not as bad as we first feared, but we'll check that before tomorrow.
"Frankie's problem has been niggling him for a while and flared up during the Reserve game.
"So he is out of the equation for tomorrow, but that opens opportunities for other people who may not have been in the squad."