No time for celebrations if Grimsby Town win at Wembley - Gateshead clash could follow two days later
GRIMSBY Town could be forced to resume their Conference title bid little more than 48 hours after the FA Trophy final.
The Mariners are due to play Wrexham at Wembley on Sunday, March 24, before hot-footing their way to the north east for a Blue Square Bet Premier encounter against Gateshead on the following Tuesday night.
Town’s efforts to get the clash against the Tynesiders put back a day have so far proved fruitless.
And Gateshead’s inability to stage home matches at the International Stadium – due to problems with the pitch – have further complicated the situation.
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Mariners joint boss Rob Scott, right, told the Telegraph: “If we’re able to win the game at Wembley there won’t be too many celebrations – we’re due to play Gateshead away on the following Tuesday.
“We’re a little bit disappointed that we can’t change that, at this moment in time, to the Wednesday.
“It seems to be stacking up through no fault of our own. Gateshead’s pitch is unplayable at certain points, yet we seem to be penalised for that.
“It’s pencilled in for us to play at Hartlepool, but they play on the Friday night of that week, so they’re saying we can’t play on the Wednesday – it’s too close to their game.”
It could be a case of deja vu for Town fans, who watched their team win the 1998 Auto Windscreens Trophy final at Wembley, two days before a crucial league clash in the north west, at Carlisle.
On that occasion, the Mariners won both matches and went on to secure promotion in the Division Two play-off final the following month.
“It’s obviously not ideal and we’ll investigate if we can get that one shifted,” added Scott.
“But as it stands, it will be a quick journey back from London, in for training on the Monday, and then up there for the game on Tuesday.
“You’d like to think there would be a bit of common sense used on that one.
“There’s a bit of logistics to take into account, in how far we’ve got to travel and whether Gateshead can get their pitch sorted out.
“They will want to play at their stadium but if the pitch isn’t fit what can you do?”
Tomorrow evening’s rearranged clash at Forest Green Rovers is the first of at least eight more matches for Town this month.
And the situation has been further exacerbated by the postponement of Friday night’s match at Macclesfield – after the Mariners team bus was gridlocked in an accident on the M62.
However, Scott insists that his side’s hectic run-in is nothing unusual.
“Everyone’s in the same boat,” he said. “It’s not like we’ve got to catch up five or six games because of the Trophy, which was the case a little bit last year where we had to make up two or three games.
“There are other teams that have got to do the same. Forest Green have obviously got to play us, so it’s the same for them.
“The players are fit and strong and they’ve had a good pre-season in which they put the base down to prepare themselves for situations like this.
“They’re ready, they’re physically able and they’ll be fine to push on.
“We were two or three games ahead of the pack earlier on and, not only that, but we won those games, which put us in a good position.
“We would like more help from the league in being able to sort out certain dates of games.
“But we have to play them and sometimes the players would rather play games than train.”