Grimsby preview

Grimsby Town will be the next side attempting to end the Exiles unbeaten record at Rodney Parade this season. It is just their second successive campaign in the Football League, securing a steady 14th place finish last season after accumulating 62 points. They are currently a place above that, as they head to South Wales in 13th position.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 encounter.


League form

The Mariners have seemingly regained their League 2 form after a stuttering start, winning their last two matches after suffering four defeats from the previous five.

Their season did, however, start on a much more positive note, with a credible 3-1 away victory at Chesterfield – Nathan Clarke, Sam Jones and Ben Davies all scoring.

But then their season seemed to falter somewhat, following the postponement of their EFL Cup tie with Derby County.

Two defeats came before eventually losing the rearranged game, as Coventry City controversially won at Blundell Park 2-0 before they went down 3-1 to Stevenage.

Another defeat came after that Derby game, goals from Ex-Exile Mitch Rose and JJ Hooper not enough to stop the Mariners from suffering a 3-2 home defeat to an Adebayo Akinfenwa inspired Wycombe Wanderers side.

They stopped the rot with a narrow victory over Crewe, Mitch Rose again scoring, before yet another defeat came at the hands of Mansfield Town, Sam Jones netting in the 4-1 reverse.

But the Lincolnshire side didn’t let that get them down, hitting back with a stunning 2-1 win at Accrington Stanley, who at the time hadn’t dropped a point at home.

They made it back-to-back wins with another 2-1 success in their last outing, this time at home to Yeovil Town, meaning the Mariners head to Rodney Parade on the same points as the Exiles, behind by four places due to goal difference.

And that poor goal difference comes as a result of having the 4th worst defence in the division. They have let in 15 goals already this campaign, securing only one clean sheet in all competitions, conceding in every game away from home thus far.



The Mariners have a host of injury concerns ahead of this fixture.

Karleigh Osborne was an unused substitute against Yeovil after picking up a knock in training, so could be available from the off this time around.

A calf complaint kept Tom Bolarinwa out of the Yeovil game, who is again unlikely to play.

Long term absentees Sean McAllister and Akwasi Asante will both miss the trip to Rodney Parade with groin injuries, while Jamey Osborne is missing with a knee complaint.

Russell Slade made one change to the side for that Yeovil game last weekend, as the Mariners set up in a 4-4-2 formation.


Team vs Yeovil Town:

McKeown, Davies, Clarke, Collins, Dixon, Dembele, Berrett, Summerfield, Woolford, Jones, Matt


One to watch – Sam Jones

Age: 26

Position: Striker 

Goals this season: 3

Selected previous clubs: Heanor Town, Alfreton Town, Gateshead

Jones has had an eventful season for the Mariners so far, scoring three goals, in addition to being sent-off already this campaign.

His opening strike came on the opening day, his goal the second in the 3-1 win over Chesterfield.

But he was stopped in his tracks soon after, with the attacker being suspended for three games following his dismissal at Stevenage for an off-the-ball incident.

But he has returned with a vengeance, scoring in consecutive games against Mansfield Town and Accrington Stanley.

That takes his overall tally with the club to 10 goals, after joining the Mariners on deadline day of the January window this year for an undisclosed fee from Gateshead.

He spent half-a-season with Gateshead, attracting the attention of Grimsby after scoring 11 goals in 30 appearances over all competitions, with it taking four bids for the Mariners to get their man.

Prior to both Grimsby and Gateshead, Jones spent a season at both Heanor Town and Alfreton Town.

He scored 17 goals at both clubs, taking his tally to 63 goals across all the clubs he has played for.

Interestingly, despite being born in Barnsley, Jones has been capped for the Wales U19s side. He made two appearances for the side in 2008, in matches against Montenegro and Romania.

Ahead of the tie at Rodney Parade, SKY BET has him as second favourite to score the first goal, only behind Frank Nouble. That sees Jones at 5/1 to get the opener, whilst he is 15/8 to score at any time.


Manager – Russell Slade

Slade is one of the newest appointments in League 2, having returned to Grimsby for a second spell as manager in April.

He had a successful first spell with The Mariners, spending two years with them from 2004-06. That saw them reach the League 2 play-off final in 2006, although they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Cheltenham Town at the Millennium Stadium.

His success with the Lincolnshire club prompted League 1 Yeovil Town to appoint him as manager, losing another play-off final in his first season, this time a 2-0 defeat to Blackpool.

A brief spell with Brighton followed before moving to Leyton Orient. The London club is his most successful managerial stint to date, winning 42.6% of the 242 games that he managed whilst with the club.

In 2014, he lost another play-off final whilst with Orient, losing to Rotherham on penalties, before Cardiff City came calling in October of that year.

He resigned at the end of the 2015/16 season, with brief spells at Charlton Athletic and Coventry City coming before returning to the Mariners.

In his current spell, Slade has managed 15 games, winning 40% of those matches, with seven defeats, five of which have come already this season.  

Slade has never won a professional trophy during his career, although did win two League 1 manager of the year awards, in 2007 and 2014, with a notable win over Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup coming during his first stint at Grimsby.

This game will be the first time that Slade has come up against the Exiles.


Previous Meetings

The two sides have met on 31 previous occasions – with the Mariners holding a superior record in prior contests.

The visitors have won 14 of the previous meetings, with the Exiles winning on nine occasions, leaving eight draws.

However, the Exiles have arguably won the most important meetings between the two sides, those coming in the Conference Play-Off semi-final in the 2012/13 season.

An Ismail Yakubu goal at Blundell Park gave County a slight lead heading back to Rodney Parade, with Christian Jolley’s goal ensuring that the Exiles would head to Wembley and ultimately secure promotion into the Football League.

It took the Mariners until the 2015/16 season to themselves get promoted, 3-1 over Forest Green Rovers at Wembley, meaning the two sides have only met twice in the Football League.

Only one goal was scored over the two meetings last season, as Omar Bogle’s late penalty ensured Grimsby took all three points at Blundell Park on 27th September, before both sides played out a 0-0 draw at Rodney Parade on 14th February.



Referee – Antony Coggins

Assistant referee 1 – Matt Eva

Assistant referee 2 – Mark Griffiths

Fourth Official – Marvyn Amphlett

Coggins is currently in his first season as a Football League referee, taking charge of his first match on the opening day of the season between Morecambe and Cheltenham Town.

He has managed a further four games this season, giving out a total of 11 yellow cards and producing no reds.

Last season, Coggins officiated on 24 National League matches, including the play-off semi-final first leg between Forest Green Rovers and Dagenham & Redbridge.

In those games, Coggins gave out 84 yellow cards, 5 straight red cards and 2 red cards for second-bookable offences.


County Connection

After being an assistant twice for County games in previous seasons, Coggins oversaw the Exiles for the first time in the 2-0 victory over Southend United in the Carabao Cup earlier this season.

Ben White and Matty Dolan were both booked for the Exiles, in the only yellow cards given out by Coggins on the night.


Other fixtures that day (All 3pm kick-offs unless stated)

Forest Green Rovers vs Swindon Town (Friday – 7:45pm – SKY SPORTS FOOTBALL)

Accrington Stanley vs Cheltenham Town

Barnet vs Crawley Town

Colchester United vs Wycombe Wanderers

Coventry City vs Exeter City

Crewe Alexandra vs Carlisle United

Luton Town vs Chesterfield

Mansfield Town vs Cambridge United

Notts County vs Lincoln City

Stevenage vs Morecambe

Yeovil Town vs Port Vale


Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by James Stevens and Ben Catton can also be found at the Match Centre.