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Easter Monday Predictions

By: Richard Lord
Date: 31/03/2002

IN the wake of the disappointing 4-0 defeat to Birmingham on Saturday, it's important that all Grimsby fans don't get too despondent. All good things must come to an end, and our good run came to an end in Birmingham.

Since the Mariners rose back up into the First Division, their away form has never been superb. We had already lost 4-0 away on two occasions (Manchester City and Walsall) and 5-0 (Crystal Palace).

It could be said that the weekend's defeat might have done the team some good. It has certainly brought the players back down to earth and made them realise there is still a big job to do.

Apart from Sheffield Wednesday, all the other relegation rivals failed to win. It leaves Town three points clear of the bottom three but Crewe have two games in hand. Would you rather have the points or the games in hand?

Paul Groves is true when he says our destiny is in our own hands. If we get the results then no one will catch us and we will secure Division One football for another season. But he is only human and I'm sure he'll note who the other teams are playing.

Barnsley, who won their last home game against Watford, entertain Preston at Oakwell. It might be stating the obvious but Preston have something to play for and they won't be going there to field some youngsters.

Gillingham, who did Town a massive favour by equalising late in the game at Walsall, could do us an even bigger favour by beating Crewe at the Priestfield Stadium.

Notts Forest, who have been on a terrible run of late, might fancy their chances at home to Walsall but don't be surprised if you witness the Saddlers take something from that game.

Finally Rotherham have to get something out of the game against Millwall and Mill Moor. The Millers have only lost three times at home but have drawn too many, and with the Lions looking to cement a play-off spot, both teams will be giving it their all.

Finally, the biggest clash of them all. Sheffield Wednesday will believe that they have all but maintained their Division One status with 48 points, but a defeat to Grimsby could bring them back down in it.

On the other hand, they will see the game as the perfect opportunity to pick up another three points and push their tally on to 51 points - the safety mark.

My personal view is that Barnsley will get at least a draw at home to Preston, if not a win, Gillingham will draw with Crewe, Notts Forest will beat Walsall, Rotherham will lose to Millwall and as for the Town game - I wouldn't like to comment!

As a Grimsby supporter I think we will win, but Wednesday fans will be just as confident about this match as us. Their away form has been good of late and they won't be pushovers.

If all goes the way I predict, then on Monday evening the table will see Stockport bottom, Walsall just above on 42 points, Crewe in the bottom three on 45 points, Barnsley also on 45 but with a better goal difference, Rotherham on 46 and Wednesday and Town on 48.

What that means is, with three games to go (and five for Crewe) Grimsby will still only be three points away from the relegation zone - exactly as they are now but with Rotherham and possibly Wednesday below them.

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