'Wembley must give us a lift', says Grimsby Town joint boss Paul Hurst
IF Grimsby Town’s players can’t raise their games for Wembley, they’re in the wrong profession.
That’s joint boss Paul Hurst’s view as the dust settles on Tuesday night’s woeful defeat at Nuneaton – his side’s fourth loss on the bounce.
From being serious title contenders just 12 days ago, Town’s hopes of achieving automatic promotion have effectively disappeared in the blink of eye.
Now the fifth-placed Mariners are nervously looking over their shoulders as the battle for the play-off places hots up.
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Before that quest for a Football League return can continue, though, there is the matter of Sunday’s FA Trophy final at Wembley.
And Hurst admits that he and co-manager Rob Scott are “scratching their heads” about which starting XI to select against Wrexham for the final with so many Town players out of form.
“It’s an opportunity to win a trophy and when it comes round we’ll be ready and doing everything we can to do that,” Hurst said.
“If the players can’t be up for playing at Wembley then they’re in the wrong profession.
“But at the moment you tell me what our starting line-up would be because we’re scratching our heads as to what team we pick for the weekend.”
After repeatedly insisting that the trip to the home of English football wouldn’t impact the Mariners’ promotion charge, Hurst admits that Tuesday evening’s horror show suggests otherwise.
“Everything at the moment looks like it’s affecting us,” he added. “The questions have been asked and I’ve tried to say it hasn’t (affected us) and up until Tuesday that was the case.
“Look at the Mansfield performance the week before, it couldn’t have come into anyone’s mind that the lads were thinking about Wembley.
“I just wish we were playing Gateshead next because I want to get into league games.
“I’ll be delighted when Sunday is out of the way and it’s a shame to be saying that at this moment in time.
“If the players were thinking about Wembley on Tuesday night, then they certainly didn’t show us they wanted to be in the team for the final.”
He continued: “I didn’t see anyone pull out of a challenge, but did I see us working extremely hard?
“We talked before the game about working harder than Nuneaton – if we did we felt we would win the game.
“I asked them ‘who worked harder?’ at the end and a couple of our lads said ‘Nuneaton’. That’s not acceptable. They’re right but that shouldn’t be the answer I get back.”