Match Preview: Grimsby Town v County

County’s next stop in the promotion chase sees us travel to Blundell Park on Saturday to take on Grimsby Town, looking to complete a first league double over the Mariners since the 2006/07 campaign.

County were left frustrated at home to Harrogate Town last time out despite a second goal in as many games from Connor Lemonheigh Evans, as the visitors claimed a 1-1 draw at Edgeley Park.

That does, however, make it just two defeats in the last 24 league outings for Dave Challinor’s side, who sit four points clear of second place Mansfield Town after their derby win over Notts County last weekend. Defeat for Wrexham at Salford also saw us extend our lead over the Welsh side, who slipped down to fourth, to six points.

Elsewhere in League Two this weekend, Mansfield go to bottom of the table Forest Green Rovers, 3rd place Barrow travel to AFC Wimbledon, whilst Wrexham host Bradford City in North Wales. Next Tuesday’s opponents Crewe Alexandra are also in action on Saturday, as they take on Crawley Town.

Opponents Grimsby, a bogey side of County’s in recent years, claimed a credible 0-0 draw away at Accrington Stanley last time out. It’s now four games without a win for the Mariners, however, as they slipped to 20th in the table – seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Streaming:

This fixture will be available for overseas supporters to watch over on Stockport County Live, whilst featuring live match audio commentary from Jon Keighren and Liam Richardson will be available for supporters in the UK. Click here to purchase your video match passes today.

Since we last met:

The last time these two sides met turned out to be a five-goal thriller at Edgeley Park back in October, as a late Louie Barry goal earned County an eighth straight victory in League Two, and a first league win over Grimsby since 2012.

A Louie Barry brace helped County to a 3-2 win over the Mariners in October.

Those three points maintained a two-point lead at the top of the table for Dave Challinor’s side, but piled the pressure on Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst after a run of just two wins from 11 league outings. Just a week on from that defeat, and following further losses to Colchester United and Doncaster Rovers, Hurst’s second spell at Blundell Park was brought to a close with the side sat in 21st – four points clear of the relegation zone.

Hurst, who has since returned to former club Shrewsbury Town in League One, was a promotion hero during his time at Grimsby, twice leading them to promotion from the National League via the play-offs in 2016 and 2022, but a fourth straight defeat left the Mariners in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle.

After a month-long search for Hurst’s replacement, Grimsby turned to former Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell, appointing the 42-year-old on a deal until 2026. It’s Artell’s first role since leaving Crewe in 2022, having guided the Railwaymen to promotion from League Two in 2020.

In the time between Hurst’s departure and Artell’s appointment the side were unbeaten in League Two after picking up a win and two draws, going on to mirror those results in the new boss’ first three games in charge – which included a 2-1 win over his former side Crewe.

County are amongst the leading goalscorers in the top four divisions this season.

Since then, however, there have been teething issues as Artell has looked to evolve the style of play at Blundell Park, with the Mariners losing four and winning just one of their last seven games in League Two. That run included a heavy 6-1 loss at home to Walsall, a remarkable 5-5 draw with promotion-chasing Notts County and home defeats to Harrogate Town and Tranmere Rovers. Despite that run however, they retain a healthy seven-point advantage over Sutton United in 23rd place as they bid to avoid being dragged into the end of season scrap for survival.

The point gained at Accrington last time out brought with it a much-needed clean sheet for a side leaking goals in recent weeks, and the home side will no doubt take confidence from a strong recent record against County after winning the last two encounters at Blundell Park.

Match Stats:

  • County’s poor recent record in this fixture means Grimsby have the historical head-to-head advantage, winning 34 of the previous 80 encounters to County’s 27.
  • Only Championship leaders Leicester City have scored more EFL goals this season than County’s 62. We are now just three goals away from matching our tally for the whole of last season.
  • Connor Lemonheigh Evans will be looking to continue the recent revival to his County career. Having scored three times in his first 37 appearances for the club, Connor now has two in two.
  • Irish midfielder Gavan Holohan has scored four times in his last six appearances against County, dating back to his time at Hartlepool United.

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