Grimsby Town: Luton's attacking threat must be contained - Hurst
GRIMSBY Town must contain the likes of Jon Shaw, Andre Gray, Stuart Fleetwood and Scott Rendell to give themselves a chance in tonight's televised clash against Luton Town (7.45pm).
The Mariners come under the glare of the cameras for the second time this season knowing that a win would see them leapfrog Paul Buckle's men into the play-off places.
In order to do that, joint boss Paul Hurst believes that his side will have to be ready to contain the Hatters' potent attacking threat.
Fleetwood, a prolific goal-getter at this level, is currently the Blue Square Bet Premier's joint top scorer, while Shaw finished last season as one of the league's top marksmen for Gateshead.
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Gray is also in goalscoring mood having notched the winner for an England C team that included Aswad Thomas earlier this month, while Rendell has a proven record of hitting the back of the net in the Football League.
"We're expecting another tough game against Luton," said Hurst, pictured left.
"I think they were favourites for the league before the season – although I don't know whether they are now – but they're currently lying fifth and can go top for a time if they can beat us.
"But on the other hand, a victory for us would take us level on points with them and into those play-off spots which is where we want to be.
"In Jon Shaw, Andre Gray, Stuart Fleetwood, Scott Rendell, they've got a lot of attacking power and we've got to be on our guard against that.
"If we can contain those forward players, I think we'll give ourselves a good chance.
"Having said that, they're strong all over the pitch, which you would expect a team like Luton to be.
"They've got dominant centre-halves so we can't just throw the ball up there, and then they've got some good, ball-playing midfielders.
"Again, we've got to stamp our authority on the game and make it uncomfortable for them – we're confident in ourselves and it's all about what we can do on the pitch."
While he acknowledged Luton's embarrassment of riches in the striking department, Hurst said he was delighted to sharpen his own attacking line with the signings of winger Scott Neilson and striker Ross Hannah.
Their signings bring the joint managers' search for reinforcements to an end as they look to bolster a shot-shy Mariners side who have scored just 11 goals so far this season.
On paper, both look to be shrewd pieces of business.
Before joining current club Bradford, Hannah scored a remarkable 52 goals in a season – two levels below the Mariners.
While Neilson, has twice tasted promotion with parent club Crawley Town.
Hurst said: "We're really pleased to get the two bits of business done. Both will give us more options and we're delighted to have them on board.
"We've got the right noises from both of them. They're both eager to get playing football and tonight is a great opportunity for them both to get started.
"Ross is a striker who we know very well from our time at Ilkeston when he was playing for Matlock.
"He scored bundles of goals for them and that's what he is – an out-and-out goalscorer.
"There are obviously other sides to his game but first and foremost, he's a box player, and a finisher.
"He's someone that we looked at before he went to Bradford, but he's gone there and got in the team last season and they think very highly of him.
"He suits us perfectly because we feel we need someone to nick us a goal sometimes.
"I think Ross is a little bit different to the other strikers that we've got. That's not a slight on them, but we think he can really help us at a time when we're finding goals a little bit hard to come by at times.
"It's a three-month deal for both and hopefully they can come in and help us during that time.
"Both Scott and Ross will be in the 16 for tonight and we'll have a chat and make a decision as to whether they'll both start."
Hurst added that Hannah and Neilson will join a Town squad that is approaching full-strength, barring Greg Pearson who continues to struggle with a groin injury.
"Greg Pearson's injury keeps changing," he explained.
"We think he's going to train and then it's not quite right, so we're not sure if we'll have him available but that will be assessed.
"Other than that, we're ok for tonight. Woody (Bradley Wood) is ok, he's come through training and he should be ok to play for us.
"We're looking forward to the game. Luton have made a good start. They had a bad result at Alfreton not so long ago and drew against Wrexham, but there's no shame in that.
"We're happy with the start we've made.
"Yes, we would have liked to have won a few more by turning a couple of those draws into wins, but we're happy with where we are and looking to improve again tonight.
"It's two of the league's big clubs facing each other and it's going to be a good game."