New-look Grimsby set for big kick-off

Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd in action with Nathan Clarke of Coventry City during the English League One match at Bramall Lane Stadium, Sheffield. Picture date: April 5th 2017. Pic credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd in action with Nathan Clarke of Coventry City during the English League One match at Bramall Lane Stadium, Sheffield. Picture date: April 5th 2017. Pic credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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On Saturday the Proact will play host to two clubs who have quietly gone about the business of building a side who can challenge for promotion.

According to the bookies there are several teams more likely to escape League Two this season, than Chesterfield and Grimsby.

But like his Spireites counterpart Gary Caldwell, Grimsby boss Russell Slade has conducted himself with a minimum of fuss this summer while assembling a ‘strong looking’ squad.

That’s the view of Grimsby Telegraph writer Liam Wood.

“I think the club will quietly be targeting a place in the play-offs,” he said.

“Without shouting from the rooftops, Russell Slade has put together a strong looking squad with options, quality and experience all over the pitch.”

The Mariners, who are expected to bring a bumper away support to the Proact for the opening game of the season, have added a bit of steel to the squad who finished 14th in the 2016/17 League Two campaign.

Like Chesterfield, they’ve had a bit of a summer makeover, with 10 departures, including veterans Shaun Pearson and Craig Disley.

Wood said: “Nathan Clarke, formerly of Huddersfield and Bradford City, has joined this summer and is likely to be made club captain.

“He will partner ex-Premier League defender Danny Collins in the back four for most of the season.

“Grimsby’s one to watch will be Siriki Dembele, who signed from the Nike Academy. He is a quick, tricky wideman who really has caught the eye this summer.

“There is a little more physicality in the squad this season, but without sacrificing the quality or technical skills that were on offer last term.”

Likely line-up (4-4-2): McKeown; Mills, Dixon, Clarke, Collins; Dembele, Kelly, Berrett, Rose; Jones, Vernon.