Any realistic chances of the Mariners making the play-offs were well and truly blown into the North Sea after they picked up just two points from three successive home matches.
The remainder of the season will now be used by the joint managers, Rob Scott and Paul Hurst, to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the squad with next season firmly in their minds.
Newport had a fine start to the campaign, having just been promoted from the Blue Sqare South.
Their results tailed off following the departure of manager Dean Holdsworth to Aldershot, and now, like Grimsby, they are too far adrift of the play-offs places to have any real chance with so few games remaining.
However, the Exiles will be boosted by the news that the club has today offered their vacant managerial position to Anthony Hudson.
Hudson, the son of former England, Chelsea and Stoke legend Alan Hudson, is currently the reserve team coach at Tottenham Hotspur.
Joint Town boss Rob Scott has defended their decision to substitute the crowd’s favourite, Alan Connell, in both of their matches in charge. He told Evening Telegraph :
‘People are asking why Alan Connell was taken off again and the simple answer is that we wanted to try and change things on the pitch.
‘Alan will be treated the same way as every other player as we assess them.
‘He has started both games we have been here so he can take solace in that and will more than likely do so at Newport tomorrow.
‘We looked at it on Tuesday and wanted to add a bit of pace up front, something you don’t have as much from Alan and Rob Duffy. That’s why Charlie came on.
‘It was a decision taken to try and change the game. It didn’t work for us, but we stand by our decisions.
‘Whether it’s Alan Connell, Tom Corner or Josh Fuller in the reserves, everyone will be judged on merit and how hard they work, not how many goals they have got’.
Regarding the number of players now missing with various muscle injuries, Scott added :
‘We have ways of doing things and maybe the high tempo in training could relate to the injuries we’ve picked up in games and maybe age plays a part as well, looking at those who have got the injuries.
‘We played with a much higher tempo on Tuesday and that’s what both Paul and I demand – in training and in matches’.
Newport’s caretaker manager, Tim Harris, has put the speculation regarding the new manager to one side as he prepares his team for the match.
Harris told the South Wales Argus :
‘It would have been easy for the players to be distracted by all the rumours and speculation but they have performed excellently.
‘I had a long chat with them after training yesterday and they know they`ve got to focus fully on what happens on the pitch’.
One unsuccessful candidate for the vacancy, Martin Foyle, has been quoted by the same paper as saying :
‘I know a few of the current squad at Newport and some of my ex-players know them as well, and from what I know they wanted me on board.
‘I think we could have got a few of them to stay on and sign contracts, but my information is that several of them will now leave this summer.”
Newport Team News:
The Exiles will be assessing the fitness of midfield pair Charlie Griffin and Scott Rogers ahead of the game.
They both took knocks in the midweek win over Gateshead, with Rogers being the more likely to miss out with his knee injury.
Tom Miller is on standby to step up, having been on the bench on tuesday.
Player to watch: Danny Rose
The 23 year old midfielder came through the junior ranks at Manchester United, becoming captain of their reserve side in the 2006/7 season.
He joined Oxford United on loan before signing permanantly in January 2007.
Rose then signed for Newport in the summer of 2008, and remains one of their influential leaders out on the pitch.
Grimsby Town Team News:
The Mariners will be without six injured players for the long trip to South Wales.
Micky Cummings (hamstring) has joined Lee Ridley, Steve Watt, Darran Kempson, Peter Bore on the injured list.
Michael Leary has had the all clear from the cardiology specialist, but is not available as he still has the effects from concussion.
Charles Ademeno is the seventh absentee as he starts a three match ban, which resulted from his red card in a recent reserve’s fixture.
Bradley Wood, Scott Garner and Dwayne Samuels are again expected to play in the back line with skipper Rob Atkinson.
Bryan Hughes will be included in the squad and will probably be joined by youngsters Andi Thanoj and Mark Gray.
Player to watch: Scott Garner
Scott was recalled from his loan spell with Alfreton Town in time to play against Darlington last tuesday.
His solid performance in that game will no doubt have caught the attention of Town’s new joint managers, who will surely see Scott as an important part of their plans for next season.
Match Facts & Stats
Reverse fixture this season :
Sat 2nd Oct ’10, Blundell Park
Grimsby Town 2 (Connell 30, 50)
Attendance : 3,246
Ref : Mr. J. Busby
Assistants : K. Howick & R. Hodges
4th Official : A. Coggins
9 April, (h) Kidderminster Harriers 3pm