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Grimsby v Bristol Rovers Team News
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY and Bristol Rovers lock horns at Wembley this afternoon (2pm) with the ultimate prize at stake - a place in the Football League. Town will have to do without defender Gregor Robertson who failed to recover in time from his knee injury.
The Mariners are likely to be unchanged or close to unchanged. Paul Hurst's biggest decision is to whether to go with Craig Clay or Scott Brown in midfield. It's likely that the rest of the team will be the same as that which started in both games against Eastleigh.
Bristol Rovers have striker Ellis Harrison available again after the his one-match suspension. However midfielder Stuart Sinclair (knee) won't make it on time.
The two games between the sides have both been close affairs. The division's opening game saw the two clubs meet live on TV back in August. Over 7000 supporters watched a 0-0 draw in a game of few chances. Lenell John-Lewis missed a sitter in the second half, but since then the Town striker has found his scoring boots and he has gone on to find the net 19 times so far this season.
The game at Blundell Park in February so both teams in the upper reaches of the table with Rovers chasing Barnet at the top and Town looking for to stay in contention for a play-off spot. The game was once again very close but a controversial goal when Rovers appeared to have run it out of play in the build up proved the only difference between the sides. Bristol Rovers also missed a penalty in that game in another moment of controversy by the referee. However Grimsby bounced back from the Rovers defeat in style and won the next game at Barnet in a frenzy of inflatables. That proved to be the start of an incredible winning streak that saw Grimsby mount an assault on the title spot which only failed because of the form of the other teams around them.
The Mariners didn't quite make the summit of the table but they certainly finished the season strongly as did Bristol Rovers. The Pirates only picked up one point in their first three matches, but they recovered from the shell-shock of non-league and finished just one point behind Barnet in a far better first season at this level than most clubs manage.
Few can argue that the best two teams besides Barnet are competing at the national stadium for one of the hardest promotion places to achieve in English football. Whoever takes it will be worthy re-entrants to the Football League.
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