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Priority for transfer window?

Reduce squad size
Strengthen defence
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Rant: Critical Factors

By: Graham Howes
Date: 09/07/2002

FIRSTLY, I accept like any other the need to play within the budget. I am also hopeful that Groves can bring in the quality of players required for a first division assault. If Cooke is an indication of the signings that will be made then it will despatch most of my following fears.

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My concerns are the budget in place may not be sufficient to mould us a squad capable of competing at this level. A number of our players are getting on in years and it is possible these players may struggle to play every game of the campaign. In my opinion the only way to generate the revenue required is to sacrifice either Coyne or Pouton.

I am not sure that Ford has desires to stay and looks as if he is willing to go to Wolves and bide his time. Whether he felt he was not treated well by us bringing in Todd and dropping him to the reserves only Ford can say.

Taking last season, the squad which kept us up is no longer here. Only Cooke has stayed who was brought in as a desperate measure to stave off what was looking like inevitable relegation. Depite the energy and enthusiasm of Groves management it still looked forlorn until the shower of loanees and short contract players came in.

It shows that apart from the Coyne's, Pouton and Macca's of the team we are carrying players who are not up to the task and need replacing. We are currently in pre-season training and are desperately short of several bodies in critical areas of the pitch. Due to circumstances we are likely going to be starting with a side which effectively could take until Christmas before it gels as a team.

Our defence has still a major concern that unless we get a player with presence, calming influence and the ability to command a defence we will leak goals like water (eg pre-Todd era). These types of players are seldom cheap and it is doubtful under current financial constraints that we could get one. Lets hope we can find a season long loanee of Todd's quality.

The board perception to danger frightens me. Last season it was clear for long periods something was not right yet the board nearly acted too late. The bringing in of loanees, short contract players around transfer deadline was a last ditch effort which thankfully worked. We cannot continue with short-term fixes and use our get of jail card every year we will be caught.

Finances aside the club has been terribly run. Players have left and replacements have never been sought for 5-6 years now. The central defence is the prime example. Several have left yet only for Groves to be converted to play there and the other DC is constantly a loanee. Again it has worked, but how much is that been to good fortune that the loanee has been outstanding for us.

Lets hope the board act a little quicker. If we are in deep relegation depression they should release funds to do the same if need be. So we all can breathe a sigh of relief around April that we are well clear of the dogfight.

The announcement from Furneaux calls for trepidation. He has indicated there is no-way now (sensible) or in the near future that Grimsby will buy players from the transfer market. Yes it is sensible under current financial pressures. However you cannot say that you will never delve in the market for need to replace an outgoing sale.

Take the rumours on Coyne and Pouton if they become a reality during the campaign. We will need to replace them player quickly, at this stage they are contracted. So the only way to replace them is to either promote youth or buy a player on the market. If the worst does happen, the board should revue this stance and release a percentage of the sale for a replacement.

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