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Lawrence Concedes We Face Relegation Struggle

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 15/10/2001

GRIMSBY manager Lennie Lawrence conceded today that the Mariners are in crisis and are staring relegation in the face. The number of games we have played including the Worthington cup run has taken its toll of the player's mental and physical strength.

"The Liverpool game drained them mentally, emotionally, and to some extent physically, and we had to come out and do it again four days later and we couldn't, so the answer for me is simple. If I was able to rotate four or five players it would be better, but all I have got is one or two coming back from injury, and one or two youngsters and that is it," said Lawrence to the Grimsby Telegraph.

"I need to do what I can about strengthening that. I need to look at the foreign loan market again with some urgency, because the next time that happens we play Manchester City the week after we play in the cup, and there are eight games between then and now."

"We've played more games than anyone else in England!!"

"If we don't improve quickly, we are going to be in a relegation battle. In fact if we don't beat Watford on Saturday we will be."

"We have played more games than anyone else in England, because we've never had a postponement due to internationals and we've played three rounds of the Worthington Cup - and it is beginning to tell."

Lawrence said: "We need three in. The cup has been unbelievably kind to us, now if we don't take some action we will be in the bottom three by the time we play Arsenal or Manchester United. I can't come up with three loans in a week, but we need them in. For the games we have to play and have played, there is just not enough in the camp who are fit and available to us."

"The history of football is littered with clubs who have successful cup runs but get relegated."

"There have been 10 or 20 in the last 10 or 15 years, and if we don't improve and get some bodies in, if we are not careful we will join them. That is not a criticism of the players, they are young, most are in their first or second season, and they just cannot maintain it and they need help."

How well Stuart Rowson of the Grimsby Telegraph described Grimsby's present predicament when he said:

"There is little point in staging a fund-raising skydive if you don't know how to use the parachute.

The adrenaline will flow and the bank balance will rise but, like Tranmere Rovers last year, the Mariners are in a dangerously fast freefall and the ground floor of the first division is rushing up to meet them.

At the moment, impact looks painfully inevitable and time is running out for Town to find the ripcord.

Lennie Lawrence's side may have been rewarded for their giant-killing act at Liverpool with a dream draw against either Manchester United or Arsenal, but there will be little point in the glorious Cup clash if they are rooted in the drop zone when it comes around.

A money-spinner it may be but it has become a distraction that is already threatening to rip up the masterplan which was so carefully followed in the highly-charged start to the campaign.

The Town side that took to the field at Anfield was unchanged for Saturday's trip to Sheffield United but somewhere, deep inside, it was massively different.

The desire and drive to prove themselves the equal of quality international stars that had shone through so brightly just days before appeared to have been drowned in the Sheffield Canal when they took to the field at Bramall Lane.

It's easy to write off the sorry defeat as a natural hangover to such an amazing win, but this isn't the first time. In fact, following defeats at home against Gillingham and Rotherham that were shameful in nature, this was the Mariners' fourth defeat on the trot."

Billo Says With the financial success of the Worthington cup run, the board should be in a position to give Lennie some cash to sort out the problems. If ever cash was needed, now is the time.

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