BARNSLEY assistant boss Dave Flitcroft is grateful to Grimsby Town for stepping up to the Oakwell plate this afternoon.
Until 11 days ago, the Reds had been scheduled to face Feyenoord today, but that game was scrapped on police advice and the Mariners stepped in despite such late notice.
“We really needed to get a game on, as our schedule had been nailed on,” said Flitcroft.
“We sent an SOS to a number of clubs who couldn’t play us as they’d already arranged fixtures, but thankfully Grimsby were still free when Don Rowing called so it’s all systems go.
“We’ll be expected to beat Grimsby, I understand that, but that game is just about progression for us, nothing more.
“It’s another step on the road towards the Nottingham forest game on the opening day of the new season.”
Grimsby have been very much down in the doldrums over the last couple of seasons.
The 2009-10 campaign saw them drop out of the Football League for the first time in many years, and then, with expectations high of an immediate charge for promotion from the Conference, they could only finish 11th.
Neil Woods was handed the task of getting the Mariners straight back up.
But with them languishing in mid table in February, 2011, he was shown the door.
In came joint managers Rob Scott and Paul Hurst after a successful stint at Boston United.
But they did not have sufficient time to turn fortunes around and a promotion push was not forthcoming. Rotherham-based pair Scott and Hurst are still in charge though, and they have made eight new signings this summer
Grimsby have kicked-off pre-season with a win and a defeat, with Wednesday night’s 2-0 win at Sheffield FC following last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat by Rotherham.
Shaun Pearson and Rob Eagle scored on Wednesday, but Pearson, a new signing, later limped off injured and may not make this afternoon’s game.
In fact Grimsby have a number of injury worries, and currently only have one fully fit central defender in youngster Charlie I’Anson.
Liam Hearn will be the Mariners’ danger man following Alan Connell’s recent sale to Swindon Town.
Connell bagged 29 goals last season, but Hearn is set to replace him having been drafted in from Alfreton Town.
He is quick, strong, and certainly has an eye for goal, having displayed that during Alfreton’s last two successful campaigns.
This afternoon’s game kicks off at 3pm.
Entry costs £12 for adults and £6 for concessions.