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Groves On Pouton Who Returns To BP Saturday!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 19/12/2003

ALAN Pouton will start his first Blundell Park match for nine months against Wrexham tomorrow and Paul Groves says he is the Grimsby version of Roy Keane in terms of stature on the pitch.

In talking to the Grimsby Telegraph Groves made clear his opinion of Pouton.

"When you look around the country at any team and then take somebody as important as Alan out, then you'll miss him. I don't want to say Roy Keane because people will say that 'he's not Roy Keane'. But in terms of people's stature in the team and on the pitch, that's what he is for us."

With Crowe out through suspension, Des Hamilton will pair up with Pouton.

"We're fortunate that Alan has come back now. He came in and made a difference at Bournemouth and Des did quite well when he came on. He put himself around so it leaves it open for those two to forge a partnership.

When you look at them physically, they're both powerful lads. It's a big opportunity for them.

Alan is Alan. There was a 12-hour journey there and back last week and he's non-stop with his banter. He goes on the field and he makes a difference."

"We need to keep him fit and we need him to produce the goods he's capable of. I'm sure he'll get a great reception tomorrow. He's well-liked by the fans and he can help turn the noise up.

The big thing is that hopefully he's learned from the injuries he's had. He's 26/27 and he's maturing now. He's shown that in the Reserve games and in the controlled manner in which he's gone about his business in training."

"Perhaps we're just asking him to be that little bit more controlled in some situations. When you look at the tackle last week at Bournemouth, he hasn't reacted at all, even though he was on the floor."

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