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Campbell For Town?

By: Richard Lord
Date: 26/02/2001

Initially a Mariner 'til May, Lennie Lawrence aims to secure the long-term future of Stuart Campbell at Blundell Park. The on-loan Leicester midfielder has made an impression on the Town team since his arrival, bringing many Premiership qualities with him.

Stuart Campbell Given his Premiership debut at just 18, Campbell quickly became a regular Scotland Under-21 international and, with the guidance of Martin O' Niell, looked to break into the Scotland national team. But since the departure of the Irish manager to Glasgow giants Celtic, the Corby-born midfielder struggled to appear in the Leicester City first team and was brought to Blundell Park on loan in September.

Now, with the Town boss obviously pleased with Campbell's contribution to the team, he may offer a contract to the midfielder in the summer. Since Lawrence's instalment last summer, he was quick to introduce much needed pace to the team, and it was then that the seeds were sown. Campbell arrived on a two-month loan deal, which was extended to the end of the season and it now looks increasingly likely of having that extended with a contract at Blundell Park for the next couple of seasons.

Speaking to the Grimsby Evening Telegraph Campbell spoke "To be honest when I first came I hadn't really thought a lot about anything and initially I only came here for a couple of months. But I'd be interested in signing. I'd like to stay. Since I first came I've been made to feel really welcome" I went to Birmingham last year and it's not worth mentioning. I got injured the first week I was there and only made one appearance as a sub. I convinced the manager to let me go there on loan, then I picked up a hamstring injury."

Speaking of his old manager Martin O' Niell, Campbell continued, "I was disappointed to see him go, but you can't begrudge him of that chance. He's gone to one of the biggest clubs in the world." The 23-year old continued to speak highly of him "He was a great man-manager and he'd come in before games on Saturday and motivate the players. He was a great help. He signed me professionally and gave me my debut in the Premier League when I was 18. I owe him a lot."

Campbell has featured 33 times for the Foxes and a further 26 times for the Mariners. The game against Notts Forest brought about his first senior goal in professional football. On the goal-scoring subject before Saturday's game ironically he promised, "I really want to score to give the fans something back. I don't know when it will happen, but I promise you it will" he told Telegraph's Stuart Rowson.

Mariners fans will be surprised to learn that Campbell has actually played against Grimsby before, featuring in the Leicester side who were thumped 3-1 at Blundell Park in the League Cup 3rd round just over four years ago. Certainly Lawrence realises that the potential signing of the gifted midfielder would be a real asset to the club with his pace and ability to carry the ball out of defence. He has been arguably one of the most successful loan signings since Lawrence's reign as Grimsby manager began.

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